Abstract

Combining click data from a Swedish newspaper and administrative data on asylum seekers in Sweden, I examine whether a larger presence of refugees in a municipality induces people to avoid news that may encourage welcoming the newcomers. Exploiting the unexpected inflow of refugees to Sweden during 2015 and their exogenous allocation across Swedish municipalities, I find that people living in municipalities where the relative number of refugees is larger read fewer articles about asylum seekers. The decrease in clicks is 36 percent larger for more empathic articles and is correlated with less engagement in activities aimed at welcoming refugees.

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