The Irish Newspapers and the Residential Property Price Boom
tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1 … 18.1426562
There has already been some academic discussion of the role of the Irish newspapers in fuelling the country’s residential property boom that crashed in 2008. Several academic commentators have argued that the newspapers intentionally talked up the Irish market because of the conflicts of interest that they faced, particularly arising from advertising and their organisational linkages. This paper argues that these factors have only limited explanatory value, and that the key determinant in the economics sections of the newspapers was their reliance on external expertise to augment their analyses.
The article presents quantitative data demonstrating the enormous prevalence of articles written by and citing private-sector economists from organisations with direct stakes in the property market. These commentators were very unlikely to issue unreserved warnings about a crash, and in many cases made unduly positive forecasts with little empirical justification.
The article argues that the key fault of the newspapers therefore lay in the failure of management to prevent the tone and coverage of the market from being skewed by external interests. The article contributes to the broader international literature on media bias and the role of external experts.