CCP Seminar: Media Pluralism and Citizen Knowledge

This week’s CCP seminar takes place on Friday 8th March and sees Shaun Hargreaves-Heap (CCP and ECO) presenting his research on ‘Media Pluralism and Citizen Knowledge‘. An abstract for his seminar can be found below.


Media pluralism is valued in most jurisdictions, for example, because it contributes to a well-informed citizenry and this underpins the good functioning of civic institutions like representative government. However, there is considerable dispute over what it is specifically about the media that really matters for this purpose. We address this controversy by examining empirically what aspects of the media affect citizen knowledge across the 27 EU member countries. Such a large set of countries is unusual in studies of citizen knowledge, as is our coverage of a variety of types of knowledge: we consider economic, scientific, technological and social as well as the more usually studied political knowledge. On this basis, we are able to draw some sharp policy conclusions. For instance, concentration of titles in newsprint, as measured by the Herfindhal-Hirschman Index, typically matters more than concentration of ownership and detracts from knowledge. Concentration in broadcasting does not matter in the same way. What is important in broadcasting is the regulatory regime for public service broadcasting. Finally, differences in political and economic knowledge are less well explained by the media (and education and GDP per capita levels) than other types of knowledge.

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