A test of the representativeness bias effect on stock prices: A study of
Super Bowl commercial likeability
Charles Chang, Jing Jiang & Kenneth Kim
Economics Letters, forthcoming
We test 17 years of Super Bowl commercials, finding that "liked" commercials coincide with higher stock returns, despite controls for firm size and changes in sales. This is consistent with representativeness bias, the irrational relation of firm characteristics to returns.
Queerness, the Quality Audience, and Comedy Central's Reno 911!
Television & New Media, September 2008, Pages 355-370
Comedy Central currently attracts the same kind of quality audience that broadcast television networks courted in the 1990s, one that resulted in the sharp increase in gay-themed content on the networks at that time. Yet the parodic mode of address that so permeates the cable network's content makes the different levels of gay cultural competency a heterogeneous viewership brings to a program like Reno 911! an issue of considerable import. A parodic situation-comedy based on reality crime programming, Reno 911! narrativizes an ambiguously gay police detective who, in turn, provides
different viewing pleasures for differently situated viewers. As such, the character foregrounds questions about the political consequences of television's use of queer cultural signifiers and the pleasures that viewers take in a parodic representation of queerness on television.
The Impact of Editorial Slant: Evidence from the Hearst Media Empire
Siona Listokin & Jason Snyder
GMU Working Paper, November 2008
We examine whether editorial slant influences electoral outcomes in the context of one of the most powerful media conglomerates in US history. In the early 1900s, the Hearst newspaper empire was politically charged and considered influential. We test if the Hearst newspapers affected elections. Using a difference-in-differences and matching methodology, we find that the introduction of a Hearst newspaper into a county did not change electoral outcomes compared to similar counties - in contrast to other studies of media effects. We consider explanations for the results, and offer historical perspective to an issue that remains both salient and ambiguous.
Politicized Places: How Local Reactions to the Post-Katrina Migrants Were
Shaped by the Media
Harvard Working Paper, December 2008
This paper uses the post-Katrina migration as an exogenous shock to confront concerns of selection bias that have long plagued research on contextual effects. Drawing on a new phone survey of 3,879 respondents, it demonstrates that despite the national concern about issues of race and poverty following Hurricane Katrina, people in some communities that took in evacuees actually became less supportive of spending to help the poor and African Americans. In other communities, residents became more supportive of anti-crime spending during the same time period. These observations accord with a new "politicized places" theory of contextual effects emphasizing the interaction of local conditions and the media environment. Under this theory, sudden changes in local demographics make demographics salient to local residents. Media coverage can convey information about these shifts and can also frame people's thinking on issues related to them. Observed variations in local media coverage provide further evidence for this approach.
Taking Late Night Comedy Seriously: How Candidate Appearances on Late Night
Television Can Engage Viewers
Political Research Quarterly, forthcoming
Candidate appearances on entertainment television have become a staple of recent presidential campaigns, yet little is known about their effect on voters. Many assume that they leave viewers uninformed and focused on the candidate's personal image. In this article, the author investigates this idea with an experiment using John Kerry's 2004 appearance on the Late Show with David Letterman. He finds that - contrary to popular expectations - late night interviews have particular features that can, at times, engage otherwise politically disinterested viewers, causing them to process and recall substantive policy information.
It's the Media, Stupid - How Media Activity Shapes Public Spending
Christian Bruns & Oliver Himmler
University of Goettingen Working Paper, December 2008
Politicians seeking reelection need voters to know what they have done for them. Thus, incentives may arise to spend more money where media coverage is higher. We present a simple model to explain the allocation of public spending across jurisdictions contingent on media activity. An incumbent seeking to maximize the probability of reelection will shift more money to jurisdictions where an extra dollar gains more votes because a larger share of the electorate is informed about his policy. This prediction is tested using US data on county-level public spending, Designated Market Areas (DMAs) and location of licensed television stations. Instrumenting for the possible endogeneity of media activity to public spending, 2SLS results confirm a positive effect of media coverage on county-level public spending. Spatial regression rules out the possibility of confounding media effects with spatial autocorrelation.
(Nod to Kevin L., who knows stuff)
Labels: social science