Quarterly Journal of Political Science > Vol 16 > Issue 1

Does the Media Cover the Economy Accurately? An Analysis of Sixteen Developed Democracies

Mark A. Kayser, The Hertie School, Germany, kayser@hertie-school.org , Michael Peress, SUNY-Stony Brook, USA, michael.peress@stonybrook.edu
Suggested Citation
Mark A. Kayser and Michael Peress (2021), "Does the Media Cover the Economy Accurately? An Analysis of Sixteen Developed Democracies", Quarterly Journal of Political Science: Vol. 16: No. 1, pp 1-33. http://dx.doi.org/10.1561/100.00019098

Publication Date: 11 Jan 2021
© 2021 M. A. Kayser and M. Peress
Text mining,  Information systems and groups,  Media and entertainment,  Elections,  Comparative political economy,  Comparative politics,  Biases
Media coveragevoting behaviorelectionspolitical economybiases


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In this article:
Accuracy and Bias in the Media 
The Data 
Accuracy of Newspaper Coverage of the Economy 
Ideological Bias in Newspaper Coverage of the Economy 


Can voters learn what they need to learn to hold governments accountable for the economy through news coverage? Employing the first large-scale cross-national dataset of media coverage of the economy — over 2 million articles related to three economic indicators in 32 mainstream newspapers, one left-wing and one right-wing, in 16 developed countries and 6 languages — we investigate media coverage of the economy that bears implications for electoral accountability and partisan advantage. We find that the tone of most mainstream newspapers tracks the economy faithfully, although the frequency of coverage increases with negative outcomes. While we find some evidence for partisan bias in tone for growth headlines and in frequency of coverage for unemployment articles, its substantive magnitude is diminutive. Mainstream newspaper coverage of the economy provides voters with largely accurate information.