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

CentER Discussion Paper Series No. 2017-034

88 Pages Posted: 22 Sep 2017

See all articles by Eleonora Freddi

Eleonora Freddi

Tilburg University - Center for Economic Research (CentER)

Date Written: July 2017

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.

Keywords: Information Avoidance, Refugee Crisis, Motivated Beliefs, Click Data

JEL Classification: A13, D64, D83, J15, L82

Suggested Citation

Freddi, Eleonora, Do People Avoid Morally Relevant Information? Evidence from the Refugee Crisis (July 2017). CentER Discussion Paper Series No. 2017-034. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3040531 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3040531

Eleonora Freddi (Contact Author)

Tilburg University - Center for Economic Research (CentER) ( email )

P.O. Box 90153
Tilburg, 5000 LE
Netherlands

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