Collective Attention & Politicization of Information: Evidence from News articles on Climate Change

26 Pages Posted: 22 Mar 2021

See all articles by Abhishek Samantray

Abhishek Samantray

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Christos Makridis

Stanford University; Institute for the Future (IFF), Department of Digital Innovation, School of Business, University of Nicosia; Arizona State University (ASU); Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

Christos Nicolaides

School of Economics and Management, University of Cyprus; Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Sloan School of Management

Date Written: March 20, 2021

Abstract

There has been a surge in polarization in recent years, resulting in a decline in institutional trust and subjective well-being. Motivated by the fact that polarization could emerge from the politicization of news content in the media (i.e., framing), this paper uses the universe of articles related to climate change from The Guardian between 2004 and 2018 to estimate the effects of politicization on user engagement. We find that a rise in politicized content is associated with significant increase in user engagement for non-climate change articles, but with a much weaker increase for articles with greater climate change intensity. We furthermore explore the mechanisms behind these results and show that the politicized content of the discussion sections of the articles accounts for the overall effects. Our results suggest that organizations in the digital economy can communicate factual information to consumers better by avoiding politicized rhetoric.

Keywords: attention, climate change, digital platforms, information, politicization, user engagement

Suggested Citation

Samantray, Abhishek and Makridis, Christos and Nicolaides, Christos, Collective Attention & Politicization of Information: Evidence from News articles on Climate Change (March 20, 2021). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3808313 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3808313

Abhishek Samantray

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Christos Makridis

Stanford University ( email )

Stanford, CA 94305
United States

Institute for the Future (IFF), Department of Digital Innovation, School of Business, University of Nicosia ( email )

Nicosia, 2417
Cyprus

Arizona State University (ASU) ( email )

Farmer Building 440G PO Box 872011
Tempe, AZ 85287
United States

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) ( email )

810 Vermont Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20420
United States

Christos Nicolaides (Contact Author)

School of Economics and Management, University of Cyprus

1 Panepistimiou
Aglantzia CY-2109, 2109
Cyprus

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

100 Main Street
Cambridge, MA 02142
United States

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