Facts, Alternative Facts, and Fact Checking in Times of Post-Truth Politics

74 Pages Posted: 21 Jul 2017 Last revised: 25 Dec 2018

See all articles by Oscar Barrera Rodriguez

Oscar Barrera Rodriguez

Paris School of Economics (PSE)

Sergei M. Guriev

Sciences Po; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD)

Emeric Henry

Sciences Po

Ekaterina Zhuravskaya

Paris School of Economics (PSE)

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: December 14, 2018

Abstract

How effective is fact checking in countervailing "alternative facts," i.e., misleading statements by politicians? In a randomized online experiment during the 2017 French presidential election campaign, we subjected subgroups of 2480 French voters to alternative facts by the extreme-right candidate, Marine Le Pen, and/or corresponding facts about the European refugee crisis from official sources. We find that: (i) alternative facts are highly persuasive; (ii) fact checking improves factual knowledge of voters (iii) but it does not affect policy conclusions or support for the candidate; (iv) exposure to facts alone does not decrease support for the candidate, even though voters update their knowledge. We argue that the main channel is that fact checking increases the salience of the immigration issue.

Suggested Citation

Barrera Rodriguez, Oscar and Guriev, Sergei M. and Henry, Emeric and Zhuravskaya, Ekaterina V., Facts, Alternative Facts, and Fact Checking in Times of Post-Truth Politics (December 14, 2018). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3004631 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3004631

Oscar Barrera Rodriguez

Paris School of Economics (PSE) ( email )

48 Boulevard Jourdan
Paris, 75014
France

Sergei M. Guriev

Sciences Po ( email )

27 rue Saint-Guillaume
Paris Cedex 07, 75337
France

HOME PAGE: http://econ.sciences-po.fr/staff/sergei-guriev

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) ( email )

One Exchange Square
London, EC2A 2EH
United Kingdom

Emeric Henry

Sciences Po ( email )

27 rue Saint-Guillaume
Paris Cedex 07, 75337
France

Ekaterina V. Zhuravskaya (Contact Author)

Paris School of Economics (PSE) ( email )

48 Boulevard Jourdan
Paris, 75014 75014
France

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