Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Subsidising newspapers?

At Stumbling and Mumbling Chris Dillow writes,
Do newspapers provide a public good that wouldn't exist in their absence? It's that question that should determine our reaction to David Leigh's proposal for a £2 per month levy on broadband to subsidize newspapers.

There is some evidence to support him. When the Cincinnati Post closed in 2007, voter turnout fell and incumbent councillors were more likely to be re-elected, suggesting that the decline of even small newspapers worsens democracy.
Unless there is further information about causation here, isn't thing just a case of correction rather than causation? Could the relationship not be entirely spurious?

As to a justified subsidy Chris points out that it is his view that
[...] the government should subsidize left-handed cat-loving guitar-playing economists.
Clearly this is rubbish, there is absolutely no justification for such a subsidy. A correct and proper subsidy would go to right-handed cat-loving nonguitar-playing economists!


dragonfly said...

No Paul, a correct and proper subsidy would go to right-handed noncat-loving nonguitar-playing noneconomists :)

Paul Walker said...

Clearly this would never work. There would be bloody in the streets if such a subsidy was introduced! No, what we need is a nice sensible blood-free subsidy to right-handed cat-loving nonguitar-playing economists. No one could possibly object to such a welfare increasing move.