Do People Avoid Morally Relevant Information? Evidence from the Refugee Crisis

Eleonora Freddi

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Combining click data from a Swedish newspaper and administrative data on
asylum seekers in Sweden, I examine whether a larger presence of refugees in a
municipality induces people to avoid news that may encourage welcoming the newcomers. Exploiting the unexpected inflow of refugees to Sweden during 2015 and their exogenous allocation across Swedish municipalities, I find that people living in municipalities where the relative number of refugees has been larger read fewer articles about asylum seekers. I then identify articles that may raise feelings of compassion towards the refugees. The decrease in information acquisition is 36 larger for such empathic articles.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationTilburg
PublisherCentER, Center for Economic Research
Number of pages88
Publication statusPublished - 21 Sept 2017

Publication series

NameCentER Discussion Paper


  • information avoidance
  • refugee crisis
  • motivated beliefs
  • click data


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