Research / BFI Working PaperJun 04, 2024

What is Newsworthy? Theory and Evidence

Luis Armona, Matthew Gentzkow, Emir Kamenica, Jesse M. Shapiro

We study newsworthiness in theory and practice. We focus on situations in which a news outlet observes the realization of a state of the world and must decide whether to report the realization to a consumer who pays an opportunity cost to consume the report. The consumer-optimal reporting probability is monotone in a proper scoring rule, a statistical measure of the amount of “news” in the realization relative to the consumer’s prior. We show that a particular scoring rule drawn from the statistics literature parsimoniously captures key patterns in reporting probabilities across several domains of US television news. We argue that the scoring rule can serve as a useful control variable in settings where a researcher wishes to test for bias in news reporting. Controlling for the score greatly lessens the appearance of bias in our applications.

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BFI Working Paper Jul 3, 2018

Coming apart? Cultural distances in the United States over time

Marianne Bertrand, Emir Kamenica
Topics:  Economic Mobility & Poverty