People with bags and rucksacks standing under a sign at a train station.
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Refugees at Malmö Central Station in the autumn of 2015. Credit: Ola Torkelsson/TT
Woman smiling at the camera.
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Behavioural economist Eleonora Freddi has studied "strategic ignorance" in Sweden. Credit: Firas Jonblat/Sveriges Radio

News habits changed where many asylum seekers moved: researcher

3:59 min

People who live in areas in Sweden which received many asylum seekers in 2015, tend to be less interested in reading articles about refugees, a new study has found.

The Dutch behavioural economist Eleonora Freddi has been in Sweden to study whether people avoid information for strategic reasons; using lack of knowledge as an argument to avoid taking a stand in moral issues. 

By analysing clicks made on some 1,700 articles about refugees on the daily newspaper Dagens Nyheter's website, dn.se, between february 2015 and february 2016 and the location of people reading the articles, and comparing it to data from the Migration Agency, she found a clear connection.

"In municipalities that received a larger number of asylum seekers per capita, people read fewer news about refugees, and in particular I found a larger decline in clicks for articles that may raise feelings of compassion and empathy towards refugees," she said.

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