Job Market Paper
Abstract. In this paper, I investigate a novel channel of polarization: divergent interpretations of information. I conduct an online experiment with Democrats and Republicans in the US to study beliefs about racial discrimination in the labor market, a topic on which Democrats and Republicans are polarized. I find that Democrats' beliefs about racial labor market discrimination are responsive to information on racial wage disparities, while Republicans' beliefs are not. As a result, wage gap information fails to reduce (and even increases) the partisan difference in discrimination beliefs. Moreover, even after both groups agree about the extent of racial hiring discrimination, participants change their opinions about whether it is a problem depending on their political affiliation, enabling disagreement in policy demand. Together, these findings highlight key challenges in using information to reduce polarization.
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