This paper examines whether and how market competition affected the political bias of government- owned newspapers in China from 1981 to 2011. We measure media bias based on coverage of government mouthpiece content ( propaganda) relative to commercial content. We first find that a reform that forced newspaper exits (reduced competition) affected media bias by increasing product specialization, with some papers focusing on propaganda and others on commercial content. Second, lower- level governments produce less- biased content and launch commercial newspapers earlier, eroding higher- level governments' political goals. Third, bottom- up competition intensifies the politico-economic trade-off, leading to product proliferation and less audience exposure to propaganda.
Scopus Subject Areas
- Economics and Econometrics