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839. Seeing what can(not) be seen: confirmation bias, employment dynamics and climate change

Working Papers n.839 - Settembre 2020

Alessia Cafferata

DEPS, USiena

Marwil J. Dávila-Fernández

DEPS, USiena

Serena Sordi

DEPS, USiena


Psychologists among other behavioural scientists refer to the tendency of favouring, interpreting, and searching for information that supports one's prior beliefs as confirmation bias. Using Twitter data, we illustrate how this might  affect environmental attitudes by contrasting #ClimateChangeIsReal and #ClimateChangeHoax engagement. Given the relevance of the topic to the field, we develop an agent-based model to investigate how employment conditions affect attitudes towards climate policies under such a cognitive bias. It is shown that persistent endogenous fluctuations might emerge via a super-critical Neimark-Sacker bifurcation. Furthermore, depending on the individual's response to the collective opinion, we might have coexistence of periodic attractors as a representation of path dependence. In terms of policy implications, we highlight that the adoption of a successful green-agenda depends on the ability of policy-makers to take advantage of favourable employment rates while appealing to different framing strategies.


Climate change, con rmation bias, sentiment dynamics, group e ect, adaptive learning.

Jel Codes

D91, E71, O44, Q56