Vining and Marcin: An Economic Theory of Supreme Court News

Professor Dr. Richard L. Vining Jr. and Phil Marcin, both of the University of Georgia, have published An Economic Theory of Supreme Court News, Political Communication, 31, 94-111 (2014).

Here is the abstract:

In this article, we develop and test an economic theory of [U.S.] Supreme Court news. We hypothesize that information about the Third Branch is newsworthy when it has lower production costs and qualities attractive to the audiences and advertisers desired by news organizations. We examine Supreme Court news in elite newspapers, television news broadcasts, and online news sources during the October 2008 and 2010 terms. The results of our quantitative analyses indicate that all three types of news outlets are more likely to provide content about Supreme Court decisions with substantive importance but vary in their responses to costs and qualities appealing to the lay audience. We conclude by discussing the similarities and differences among news outlets with regard to their selection of Supreme Court information as news content.

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