Study finds political bias skews perceptions of verifiable fact

Wednesday, June 3, 2020 - 13:10 in Psychology & Sociology

Politics has seeped into every corner of our lives. Even announcements once thought above rank partisanship, such as states letting voters mail their ballots this fall and the death toll from the COVID-19 pandemic, now ignite accusations of political bias. Research by Harvard economists finds that politics don’t just influence people’s attitudes about economic issues and policies, it shapes their perceptions of verifiable reality. Studies of Republicans and Democrats, as well as Trump voters and non-Trump voters, found that people with opposing political views don’t simply see issues like income inequality through different lenses, those beliefs distort their basic understanding of the issues themselves even though accurate information is readily available, according to a working paper by Alberto Alesina, Nathaniel Ropes Professor of Political Economy; Armando Miano, a doctoral candidate; and Stefanie Stantcheva, a professor of economics. Alesino, a pioneer in the field of political economy, died of an apparent heart...

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