Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Discussion Paper Series in Economics,
Norwegian School of Economics, Department of Economics

No 1/2023: The Demand for News: Accuracy Concerns versus Belief Confirmation Motives

Felix Chopra (), Ingar Haaland () and Christopher Roth ()
Additional contact information
Felix Chopra: University of Copenhagen
Ingar Haaland: Dept. of Economics, Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration, Postal: NHH, Department of Economics, Helleveien 30, N-5045 Bergen, Norway
Christopher Roth: University of Cologne

Abstract: We examine the relative importance of accuracy concerns and belief confirmation motives in driving the demand for news. In experiments with US respondents, we first vary beliefs about whether an outlet reports the news in a right-wing biased, left-wing biased, or unbiased way. We then measure demand for a newsletter covering articles from this outlet. Respondents only reduce their demand for biased news if the bias is inconsistent with their own political beliefs, suggesting a trade-off between accuracy concerns and belief confirmation motives. We quantify this trade-off using a structural model and find a similar quantitative importance of both motives.

Keywords: News Demand; Media Bias; Accuracy Concerns; Belief Confirmation

JEL-codes: D83; D91; L82

Language: English

89 pages, January 12, 2023

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