_The Cincinnati Post_ published its last edition on New Year’s Eve 2007, leaving the _Cincinnati Enquirer_ as the only daily newspaper in the market. The next year, fewer candidates ran for municipal office in the Kentucky suburbs most reliant on the _Post_, incumbents became more likely to win re-election, and voter turnout and campaign spending fell. These changes happened even though the _Enquirer_ at least temporarily increased its coverage of the _Post_’s former strongholds. Voter turnout remained depressed through 2010, nearly three years after the _Post_ closed, but the other effects diminished with time. We exploit a difference-in-differences strategy and the fact that the _Post_’s closing date was fixed 30 years in advance to rule out some noncausal explanations for our results. Although our findings are statistically imprecise, they suggest that newspapers—even underdogs such as the _Post_, which had a circulation of just 27,000 when it closed—can have a substantial and measurable impact on public life.
Published in: _Journal of Media Economics_ (Vol. 26, No. 2, 2013, pp. 60-81) https://doi.org/10.1080/08997764.2013.785553.