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Röpke, J. Wettbewerb, Pressefreiheit und öffentliche Meinung. Eine Analyse der Wirkungen. Journal of Contextual Economics – Schmollers Jahrbuch, 90(2), 171-192.
Röpke, Jochen "Wettbewerb, Pressefreiheit und öffentliche Meinung. Eine Analyse der Wirkungen" Journal of Contextual Economics – Schmollers Jahrbuch 90.2, 1970, 171-192.
Röpke, Jochen (1970): Wettbewerb, Pressefreiheit und öffentliche Meinung. Eine Analyse der Wirkungen, in: Journal of Contextual Economics – Schmollers Jahrbuch, vol. 90, iss. 2, 171-192, [online]


Wettbewerb, Pressefreiheit und öffentliche Meinung. Eine Analyse der Wirkungen

Röpke, Jochen

Journal of Contextual Economics – Schmollers Jahrbuch, Vol. 90 (1970), Iss. 2 : pp. 171–192

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Röpke, Jochen

Cited By

  1. Competition of newspapers and the location of political parties

    Schulz, Norbert

    Weimann, Joachim

    Public Choice, Vol. 63 (1989), Iss. 2 P.125 [Citations: 11]


Freedom of the Press and Competition: An Analysis of the Consequences of Producing a Collective Good in the Market

The author analyses the consequences of the attempt to institutionalize a “free market place of ideas”, when mass media (the newspaper industry) is conducted as a free-enterprise business. The democratic role of mass media is seen as a forum for free, critical and rational discussion, its product is public opinion. Freedom of the press (discussion and information) gives everybody the chance to participate in this discussion and at ihe same time guarantees that nobody can be excluded from active or passive participation in the process. Constitutional guarantees make public opinion a collective good. Hence no individual member has any rational motive to join the organization voluntarily and to contribute to the costs of operation and the supply of public opinion, unless he is compelled by sanctions or seperate and “selective” incentives. But selective incentives must be accepted by the members of the public. Mass communication theory shows how this can be done. The central hypotheses are: audience members tend to select contents they already agree with; people have a strong interest in maintaining their opinions, attitudes and beliefs with as little change as possible; individuals will actively avoid counter-attitudinal infor since it will lead to dissonance. Hence mass media in a competitive environment cannot innovate with ideas containing critical, deviant or nonconformist elements, but only with non-dissonant communications of the selective-incentive-type. Competitive behavior will result in a strategy of information-management which tends to select information in line with the predispositions of the readers, eliminates dissonant and critical communications (the essence of free discussion) and instead offers escapist material, entertainment and the human touch. To maximize circulation means to homogenize and sterilize communication content. Competition reduces the amount of “public opinion” in the total production of the media. Public opinion becomes a “byproduct” with steadily diminishing importance. Thus economic competition is not able to organize the production of public opinion. An anti-trust policy which tries to restore competition in the mass-media industry would only aggravate the situation