Media, Education, and Anti-Americanism in the Muslim World

35 Pages Posted: 23 Dec 2003

See all articles by Matthew Gentzkow

Matthew Gentzkow

University of Chicago - Booth School of Business; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Jesse M. Shapiro

Brown University - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: November 19, 2003

Abstract

Recent surveys in the United States and the Muslim world show widespread misinformation about the events of September 11, 2001. Using data from 9 predominantly Muslim countries, we study how such beliefs depend on exposure to news media and levels of education. Standard economic theory would predict that increased access to information should cause beliefs to converge. More recent models of biased belief formation suggest that this result might hinge critically on who is providing the information. Consistent with the latter, we find that overall intensity of media use and level of education have at best a weak correlation with beliefs, while particular information sources have strong and divergent effects. Compared to those with little media exposure or schooling, individuals watching Arab news channels or educated in schools with little Western influence are less likely to agree that the September 11 attacks were carried out by Arab terrorists. Those exposed to media or education from Western sources are more likely to agree. Belief that the attacks were morally justified and general attitudes toward the US are also strongly correlated with source of information. These findings survive controls for demographic characteristics and are robust to identifying media effects using cross-country variation in language.

Keywords: terrorism, anti-Americanism, persuasion, media

JEL Classification: H56, L82, I20

Suggested Citation

Gentzkow, Matthew Aaron and Shapiro, Jesse M., Media, Education, and Anti-Americanism in the Muslim World (November 19, 2003). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=479861 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.479861

Matthew Aaron Gentzkow

University of Chicago - Booth School of Business ( email )

5807 S. Woodlawn Avenue
Chicago, IL 60637
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Jesse M. Shapiro (Contact Author)

Brown University - Department of Economics ( email )

64 Waterman Street
Providence, RI 02912
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
729
Abstract Views
4,360
rank
33,324
PlumX Metrics