On Thursday, October 28th at 10 am (CET), we hosted a CAS SEE Weekly Seminar with Kristoffer Ahlstrom-Vij, moderated by Hana Samaržija and our fellow Marko-Luka Zubčić. The seminar is entitled: “Do We Live in a ‘Post-Truth’ Era?”
Have we entered a ‘post-truth’ era? This talk is an attempt to answer this question by (a) offering an explication of the notion of ‘post-truth’ from recent discussions, (b) deriving a testable implication from that explication, to the effect that we should expect to see decreasing information effects – that is, differences between actual preferences and estimated, fully informed preferences – on central political issues over time and then (c) putting the relevant narrative to the test by way of counterfactual modelling, using election year data for the period of 2004–2016 from the American National Election Studies’ Times Series Study. The implication in question turns out to be consistent with the data: at least in a US context, we do see evidence of a decrease in information effects on key, political issues – immigration, same-sex adoption and gun laws, in particular – in the period 2004–2016. This offers some novel, empirical evidence for the ‘post- truth’ narrative.