Information Shocks and Internet Silos: Evidence from Creationist Friendly Curriculum

44 Pages Posted: 29 Jul 2017

See all articles by Ananya Sen

Ananya Sen

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Sloan School of Management

Catherine E. Tucker

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Management Science (MS)

Date Written: July 25, 2017

Abstract

How the Internet affects the ability of its users to seek out information which either supports or contradicts their existing beliefs remains an open question. On the one hand, the Internet should be able to supply information which might correct falsifiable beliefs. On the other hand, as users control the manner of their search, they may find sources which support their beliefs, even if those beliefs go against the mainstream consensus. To examine this, we analyze the effect of the Louisiana Science Education Act (2008), which allowed the teaching of creationism as an alternative ‘theory’ to evolution in Louisiana schools, on students’ science test scores in nationally administered tests. Using detailed data on Louisiana schools, we employ a difference-in-differences strategy to document that science test scores declined after the law relative to schools in neighboring Texas. After the change in policy, Louisiana students were more likely to seek out information on the Internet using search terms which led them to web pages that reinforced a creationist message. The effect of the law was primarily driven by regions with high Internet penetration and low parental education levels.

Keywords: Evolution, Creationism, Internet, Test Scores, Louisiana Science Education Act

JEL Classification: I21, I28

Suggested Citation

Sen, Ananya and Tucker, Catherine E., Information Shocks and Internet Silos: Evidence from Creationist Friendly Curriculum (July 25, 2017). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3008686 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3008686

Ananya Sen (Contact Author)

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Sloan School of Management ( email )

77 Massachusetts Ave. E62-663
Cambridge, MA 02142
United States

Catherine E. Tucker

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Management Science (MS) ( email )

100 Main St
E62-536
Cambridge, MA 02142
United States

HOME PAGE: http://cetucker.scripts.mit.edu

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
181
rank
163,353
Abstract Views
1,147
PlumX Metrics
!

Under construction: SSRN citations while be offline until July when we will launch a brand new and improved citations service, check here for more details.

For more information