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The Boston Globe

Ideas

Uncommon Knowledge

Does homeownership make unemployment worse?

Embracing reality—for a price

Democrats and Republicans have different political philosophies, but they also often adopt different—and convenient—versions of the facts. What does it take to bring them back to reality? Just a small payoff, according to new research. In two experiments, political scientists asked Americans to answer factual questions that nevertheless tend to elicit partisan responses. Offering a small expected payment (a matter of cents) for each correct answer reduced the partisan bias by over half, and offering an even smaller extra payment to answer “don’t know” eliminated much of the remaining bias.

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