In one example, the report looks at the closure in 2009 of Denver’s Rocky Mountain News. The paper had provided extensive coverage of local government issues, including an audit of questionable federal funds allocated to the sheriff’s department, and a series of other handshake deals.
Gao’s team looked at how tax dollars were being spent while the paper was being published and then again after the paper had closed. The researchers concluded that Rocky Mountain News stories had served as a watchdog agent. Without it, the spread or yield of newly issued local municipal bonds increased by 37 basis points.