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

84 Pages Posted: 15 Aug 2017 Last revised: 19 Aug 2019

See all articles by Oscar Barrera Rodriguez

Oscar Barrera Rodriguez

Paris School of Economics (PSE)

Sergei Guriev

Sciences Po; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Emeric Henry

Sciences Po

Ekaterina Zhuravskaya

Paris School of Economics (PSE)

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: August 2017

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 find evidence consistent with the view that at least part of the effect can be explained by raising salience of the immigration issue.

Keywords: alternative facts, elections, fact checking, fake news, voting

Suggested Citation

Barrera Rodriguez, Oscar and Guriev, Sergei and Henry, Emeric and Zhuravskaya, Ekaterina, Facts, Alternative Facts, and Fact Checking in Times of Post-Truth Politics (August 2017). CEPR Discussion Paper No. DP12220. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3018474

Oscar Barrera Rodriguez (Contact Author)

Paris School of Economics (PSE) ( email )

48 Boulevard Jourdan
Paris, 75014
France

Sergei 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

Emeric Henry

Sciences Po ( email )

27 rue Saint-Guillaume
Paris Cedex 07, 75337
France

Ekaterina Zhuravskaya

Paris School of Economics (PSE) ( email )

48 Boulevard Jourdan
Paris, 75014 75014
France

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