Speaking in tongues, a text analysis of economic opinion at Newsweek, 1975-2007

Author: 
Tiago Mata and Claire Lemercier
Publication Number: 
2011-02

Among American news magazines Newsweek holds the distinction of having hosted some of the 

most authoritative interpretation of economic events. Its cast of columnists included two of the 

most acclaimed academic economists and some of the most widely read business journalists of 

the late twentieth century. The purpose of this paper is to examine their writings as examples of 

“economic journalism”. We used statistical methods to study word co-occurrences and identify 

vocabulary classes for bodies of texts for 1975-1990 and 1991-2007. We are thus able to 

distinguish two domains of discourse: political economy and the causal economy. We find 

traces of changes in economic discourse resulting from the end of the Cold War as well as point 

out differences in the language of academics and journalists