How Deeply Held Are Anti-American Attitudes Among Pakistani Youth? Evidence Using Experimental Variation in Information

Adeline Delavande, Basit Zafar
2012 Social Science Research Network  
This paper investigates how attitudes towards the US are a¤ected by provision of information. We use an experimentally generated panel of attitudes, obtained by providing urban Pakistanis fact-based statements describing the United States in either a positive or negative light. Anti-American sentiment is high and heterogenous in our sample at the baseline. We ...nd that revised attitudes are, on average, signi...cantly di¤erent from the baseline attitudes, indicating that providing information
more » ... ad a meaningful e¤ect on US favorability. Observed revisions are a consequence of both salience of already known information, as well as information acquisition that leads to a convergence in attitudes across respondents with di¤erent priors. This provides evidence that (i) public opinions are not purely a cultural phenomenon, and are malleable, and (ii) the tendency of respondents to ignore information not aligned with their priors can be overcome. Our ...ndings make the case for dissemination of accurate information in Pakistan (and in the Muslim World in general) about various aspects of US actions, in order to improve opinion toward the US. JEL Codes: D83, L80.
doi:10.2139/ssrn.2043148 fatcat:odrxoesfb5b4xazbpbmgoloyr4