Ruben Durante

Title: Media Capture by Banks

Co-authored with Andrea Fabiani, Luc Laeven and José-Luis Peydró 


Do media slant news in favor of the banks they borrow from? We study how lending connections affect news coverage of banks’ earnings reports and of the Eurozone sovereign debt crisis on major newspapers from several European countries. We find that newspapers cover announcements by their lenders - relative to those of other banks - significantly more when they report profits than when they report losses. Such pro-lender bias is stronger for more leveraged outlets and banks, and operates on the extensive margin for general-interest newspapers and on the intensive margin for financial newspapers. Regarding the Eurozone crisis we find that newspapers connected to banks more exposed to stressed sovereign bonds are more likely to promote a narrative of the crisis favorable to banks and to oppose debt-restructuring measures detrimental to creditors. Our findings support the concern that financial distress and increased dependence on creditors may undermine media companies' editorial independence.

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Ruben is a Professor and ICREA Researcher in economics at Pompeu Fabra University, affiliated faculty to the Barcelona School of Economics (BSE) and the Institute for Political Economy and Governance (IPEG), Research Advisor at Gallup, Research Affiliate of the Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR), and Research Fellow of CESifo and IZA. He has served as associate editor of the Journal of the European Economic Association and of the European Economic Review. He studies political economy with a focus on the functioning and impact of traditional and new media in democratic societies. He is the recipient of a five-year starting grant from the European Research Council for a project on the "Independence and Quality of Mass Media in the Internet Age". 

Read more about him here.