Do people avoid morally relevant information? Evidence from the refugee crisis

Eleonora Freddi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Abstract

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 in 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
JournalThe Review of Economics and Statistics
Early online dateJun 2020
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - Jun 2020

Keywords

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

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