ARTICLE: Economic expectations are shaped by experience and tabloids

Untitled by Michal Jarmoluk, licence CC0 1.0

How does the media affect people’s expectations of their future financial situation? Antonis Kalogeropoulos, of University of Oxford, investigated the question in the Danish context.

The author surveyed 1 043 Danes in four waves, over the course of ten months. Each time the respondents were asked to assess how they saw the future in terms of economy, both for their family and for the society writ large. They were also asked about their personal experiences and exposure to the leading news outlets in Denmark. This data was then paired with a content analysis of said outlets’ news stories.

Kalogeropoulos expected that negative tone in economic news would affect people’s outlook, but found no statistically significant proof of this. Instead, the mere topic of unemployment did change people’s expectations for the worse. Interestingly, the effect was only observed in relation to stories published by tabloid newspapers – not broadsheet papers or television news.

The author also discovered two other predictors of personal financial expectations, both of which are unrelated to media. First, the audience seems to align their personal expectations to what they believe will happen to rest of the society. Second, personal negative experiences (e.g. getting fired) also affect the respondents’ future prospects.

The article “Economic News and Personal Economic Expectations” was published by the journal Mass Communication and Society. It is available online on the publisher’s website (abstract free).

Picture: Untitled by Michal Jarmoluk, licence CC0 1.0.

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