Type of Work

Research Paper - Limited Access

Publication Date



The news plays an important role in enabling voters to make informed policy choices. Bias in the supply or demand for news can cause voters to misperceive economic realities and interfere with the formation of congruent policy preferences. In the case of income inequality, reading news stories that emphasize individualism, the notion that hard work leads to success, can cause voters to overestimate social mobility and choose inefficiently low levels of redistribution. Using data from Google Trends, we measure how demand for news stories of individualism responds to changes in income inequality. Our fixed effects model finds a positive relationship between demand for news that emphasizes individualism and income inequality. We find some evidence of confirmation bias and also consider media capture as an explanation for our results.

Hamilton Areas of Study


Hamilton Sponsoring Organization

Levitt Public Affairs Center

Hamilton Scholarship Series

Levitt Summer Research Fellowship

Hamilton Faculty Advisor

Ann Owen