Does Corrective Information Change Public Attitudes toward Immigration? Evidence from a Survey Experiment in Canada
An online talk by:
Dr. Xiaojun Li
Associate Professor, UBC Political Science
Thursday, October 29, 2020
12:30 – 2:00 p.m. (Pacific Daylight Time)
[ Abstract ]
A large body of literature has demonstrated that citizens remain highly misinformed about the number, origin, and other characteristics of immigrants in their countries. Can correcting such misinformation, including those driven by innumeracy, lead to attitudinal changes? This talk examines this question in Canada. Using a survey experiment with information treatments, I show that statistical innumeracy about immigrants is prevalent among the Canadian public. Correcting the size of the immigrants leads to more negative views toward immigrants among respondents that underestimated the number of new immigrants into Canada. However, correcting both the absolute and relative size of the immigrants does not worsen their views toward immigrants and improve their support for the government targets set for new immigrant. These findings point to the importance of contextualized corrective information in overcoming cognitive biases rooted in innumeracy-induced misinformation among the public.