Publications in refereed journals

"Newspapers in Times of Low Advertising Revenues" with Charles Angelucci, Accepted, American Economic Journal: Microeconomics. [Download][Online Appendix] Media coverage: VOX.

"Tax Revenues and the Fiscal Cost of Trade Liberalization, 1792-2006" with Lucie Gadenne, Explorations in Economic History, 2018, 70: 1-24. [Online Appendix] [Data] Media coverage: La Tribune, VOX, G-MonD.

"Taxation, Corruption and Growth" with P. Aghion, U. Akcigit and W. Kerr, European Economic Review, 2016, 86: 24-51. Media coverage: VOX.

"The Long-Term Effects of the Printing Press in sub-Saharan Africa" with Valeria Rueda, American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, 2016, 8(3): 69-99. [Online Appendix] Media coverage: VOX.

"Improving "National Brands": Reputation for Quality and Export Promotion Policies" with Dorothée Rouzet, Journal of International Economics, 2015, 95(2): 274-290. [Online Appendix] Media coverage: Enjeux Les Echos.

"Improving upon the World Bank's Country Policy and Institutional Assessment: A New Performance Indicator Based on Aid Effectiveness" Journal of Globalization and Development, 2014, 5(2): 213-233.


Le prix de la démocratie, Paris, Fayard, 2018.
English translation: Harvard University Press, forthcoming.

L'information à tout prix, with Nicolas Hervé and Marie-Luce Viaud. Paris, Institut National de l'Audiovisuel, 2017.

Sauver les médias. Capitalisme, financement participatif et démocratie.
Paris, Le Seuil (La République des Idées), 2015.

Other translations: China (CITIC Press Corporation), Germany (BECK Verlag), Italy (Bompiani), Japan (Tokuma Shoten), Korea (Geulhangari Publishers), Portugal (Temas e debates), Romania (, Serbia (Akademska Knjiga), Spain (Anagrama), Turkey (Kültür).

Chapters in books

“The Devil is in the Detail: Christian Missions’ Heterogeneous Effects on Development in sub-Saharan Africa” (with Valeria Rueda). In: The Long Economic and Political Shadow of History (2017), Stelios Michalopoulos and Elias Papaioannou, p.98-109. CEPR Press (VOX eBook).

"The Economics of the African Media". In: The Oxford Handbook of Africa and Economics (2015), Célestin Mongan and Lin, Justin, p. 605-625. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
[Download] Media coverage: Jeune Afrique.

"Measuring Policy Performance: Can we do Better than the World Bank?". In: Industrial Policy and Economic Transformation in Africa (2015), Akbar Noman and Stiglitz, Joseph,
p. 268-292. Columbia: Columbia University Press.

Research Papers

"The Production of Information in an Online World: Is Copy Right?" with Nicolas Hervé (INA) and Marie-Luce Viaud (INA) [Draft][Online Appendix]CEPR Discussion Paper #12066.
Revise & Resubmit, Review of Economic Studies

This paper documents the extent of copying and estimates the returns to originality in online news production. We build a unique dataset combining all the online content produced by French news media (newspaper, television, radio, pure online media, and a news agency) during the year 2013 with new micro audience data. We develop a topic detection algorithm that identifies each news event, we trace the timeline of each story and study news propagation. We unravel new evidence on online news production. First, we show that one quarter of the news stories are reproduced online in less than 4 minutes. Second, we find that only 32.6% of the online content is original. Third, we show that reputation effects partly counterbalance the negative impact of plagiarism on newsgathering incentives. By using media-level daily audience and article-level social media statistics (Facebook and Twitter shares), we find that original content represents between 54 and 62% of online news consumption. Reputation mechanisms actually appear to solve about 30 to 40% of the copyright violation problem.

Media coverage: VOX.

“Media Competition, Information Provision and Political Participation: Evidence from French Local Newspapers and Elections, 1944-2014 [Download] [Online Appendix] CEPR Discussion Paper #12198
Revise & Resubmit, Journal of Public Economics

This paper investigates the impact of increased media competition on the quantity and quality of news provided and, ultimately, on political participation. Drawing upon existing literature on vertical product differentiation, I explore the conditions under which an increase in the number of newspapers can decrease both the quantity and quality of news provided. I build a new county-level panel dataset of local newspaper presence, newspapers' newsrooms, costs and revenues and political turnout in France, from 1944 to 2014. I estimate the effect of newspaper entry by comparing counties that experience entry to similar counties in the same years that do not. Both sets of counties exhibit similar trends prior to newspaper entry, but those with entry experience substantial declines in the average number of journalists (business-stealing effect). An increased number of newspapers is also associated with fewer articles and less hard news provision. These effects are stronger in counties with more homogeneous populations, as predicted by my simple theoretical framework, whereas there is little impact in counties with more heterogeneous populations. Newspaper entry, and the associated decline in information provision, is ultimately found to decrease voter turnout at local elections.

Media coverage: VOX.

"The Price of a Vote: Evidence from France, 1993-2014" with Yasmine Bekkouche (Paris School of Economics) [Draft] [Online Appendix] CEPR Discussion Paper #12614

What is the price of a vote? This paper investigates this consequential controversy by analyzing a new comprehensive dataset of all French municipal and legislative elections over the 1993-2014 period. We begin by documenting the evolution of campaign finance in France, and show that both the amount and sources of campaign contributions vary widely from one candidate to another, in particular depending on their political party. We then turn to the empirical analysis and tackle a number of empirical challenges. First, we rely on recent methodological innovations to handle the special characteristics of multiparty data. Second, to overcome the endogenous nature of campaign spending, we propose a new instrument based on a change in legislation. We find that an increase in spending per voter consistently increases a candidate's vote share both for municipal and legislative elections, and that the effect is heterogeneous depending on the parties and on the sources of campaign funding. According to our estimations, the price of a vote is about 6 euros for the legislative elections, and 32 euros for the municipal ones. Simulations show that small changes in spending patterns and caps can have a large impact on electoral outcomes and seats. Our results suggest that political finance needs to be tightly regulated.

Media coverage: Le Monde, Institute for New Economic Thinking.

"Sex and the Mission: The Conflicting Effects of Early Christian Investments on sub-Saharan Africa's HIV Epidemic" with Valeria Rueda (Oxford University) [Draft][Online Appendix] CEPR Discussion Paper #12192 (submitted) (updated version: January 2018)

This article investigates the long-term historical impact of missionary activity on the prevalence of HIV/AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa. On the one hand, missionaries were among the first to invest in modern medicine in a number of countries. On the other hand, Christianity influenced sexual beliefs and behaviors. We build a new geocoded dataset locating Protestant and Catholic missions in the early 20th century, as well as their health investments. Using a number of different empirical strategies to address selection in missionary locations and into health investments, we show that missionary presence has conflicting effects on HIV today. Regions close to historical mission stations exhibit higher HIV prevalence. This negative impact is robust to multiple specifications accounting for urbanization, and we provide evidence that it is specific to STDs. Less knowledge about condom use is a likely channel. On the contrary, among regions historically close to missionary settlements, proximity to a mission with a health investment is associated with lower HIV prevalence nowadays. Safer sexual behaviors around these missions are a possible explanatory channel. 

Media coverage: VOX.

“Media Competition and News Diets” with Charles Angelucci (Columbia University) and Michael Sinkinson (Yale University) (Draft coming soon)

Since the advent of the Internet and online news, the print news media has struggled with the resulting shock to advertising and readership markets that have threatened the basic economic model of news operations. In this paper, we study the effect of the introduction of a new media technology on existing news media. Specifically, we examine how the entry of television affected local newspapers as well as consumer media diets in the United States. We construct a unique dataset of newspapers’ economic performance and content choices covering over 1,500 local news markets from 1945 to 1964. Our empirical strategy exploits quasi-random variation in the timing of the entry of television in different markets, caused by a “freeze” in FCC licensing. The impact of television was heterogeneous: we find that while the entry of television led to a 3.4% drop in the circulation of evening newspapers and to a 5.6% decrease in their advertising revenues, it had minimal or even positive effects on morning newspapers, suggesting a possible complementarity between them and televised evening news. Further, we analyze how local newspapers adjusted their content in response to television’s entry.

Work in Progress

"Payroll and Inequality within the Newsroom: Evidence from France, 1936-2016"

"Fraternité and Fraternization: Resisters and Collaborators in Wartime France" with Anna Dagorret (Paris School of Economics), Saumitra Jha (Stanford University), and Pauline Grosjean (UNSW Business School)

"Estimating the Production and Demand for Online News: Micro-Level Evidence from the Universe of French News Media" with Nicolas Hervé (INA) and Marie-Luce Viaud  (INA)

"Democratization and Media Supply: Evidence from India" with Guilhem Cassan (University of Namur) and Francesca Jensenius (Norwegian Institute of International Affairs)

"It Takes Money to Make MPs : New Evidence from 150 Years of British Campaign Spending" with Edgard Dewitte (Sciences Po Paris).

Publications in Computer Sciences

Real-Time Collection of Reliable and Representative Tweets Datasets Related to News Events” with B. Mazoyer, C. Hudelot and M.-L. Viaud, Proceedings of the First International Workshop on Analysis of Broad Dynamic Topics over Social Media (BroDyn 2018) co-located with the 40th European Conference on Information Retrieval (ECIR 2018), 2018, 23–34.

Unpublished articles and "oldies"

"Asymmetric Information, Rent Extraction and Aid Efficiency", 2009 [Download]

Official Development Aid flows are volatile, non-predictable and not delivered in a transparent way. All these features reinforce asymmetric information between the citizens and the recipient government about the amount of aid flows received by developing countries. This article uses a political economy model of rent extraction to show how this asymmetry (i) encourages rent extraction by kleptocratic regimes, thus reducing aid efficiency, and (ii) increases the negative impact of aid volatility. It identifies a new channel - the "asymmetric information" channel - through which aid volatility is costly for recipient countries. The empirical relevance of the model is confirmed on a panel data of developing countries. Using various specifications and econometric methods, and developing new yearly estimates of aid volatility, I show that (i) introducing more information increases aid efficiency, that (ii) the negative impact of aid volatility on aid efficiency vanishes once one controls for information, and that (iii) this positive impact of information does not come from the fact that more transparent countries tend to have better institutions.

"Aid Volatility and Macro Risks in Low-Income Countries" with Eduardo Borensztein, Daniel Cohen and Cécile Valadier, OECD Development Centre 273, 2008.


Non-academic Publications
Click here for non-academic publications.