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Dominik Enste / Johanna Kary IW-Policy Paper No. 11 29. May 2021 Understanding conspiracy myths better – Backgrounds and countermeasure

The analysis deals with the current developments of conspiracy theories at the time of the Corona pandemic.

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Understanding conspiracy myths better – Backgrounds and countermeasure
Dominik Enste / Johanna Kary IW-Policy Paper No. 11 29. May 2021

Understanding conspiracy myths better – Backgrounds and countermeasure

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German Economic Institute German Economic Institute

The analysis deals with the current developments of conspiracy theories at the time of the Corona pandemic.

The social threat of conspiracy narratives lies in the social division due to different interpretations of reality, which then make a public productive discourse impossible. From an evolutionary perspective, high sensitivity to conspiracies might have helped humans to survive in prehistoric times. From a sociological and psychological perspective, belief in conspiracy theories can be a coping strategy to deal with uncertainty, ambiguity, and loss of control. Behavioral economics can explain the influence of various cognitive biases on the belief in conspiracies such as confirmation bias, optimism bias, truth effect, and overconfidence bias. They can contribute to individuals losing trust in institutions and expert opinions and indulging in filter bubbles of their own reality. That does not imply, that this development should be accepted, but to put even more effort into enlightenment. Filter bubbles and the personalization of social media amplify the problem. Following the analysis of the underlying needs that make belief in conspiracy theories attractive, implications are given at the individual, societal, and political levels that can function as countermeasures. These include, for example, inclusive communication, transparency, information and education, and the provision of credible strategies.

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Understanding conspiracy myths better – Backgrounds and countermeasure
Dominik Enste / Johanna Kary IW-Policy Paper No. 11 29. May 2021

Understanding conspiracy myths better – Backgrounds and countermeasure

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German Economic Institute German Economic Institute

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Better regulation and green nudges for more sustainability
Dominik H. Enste / Jennifer Potthoff IW-Analyse No. 146 30. December 2021

Behavioral Economics and Climate Protection: Better regulation and green nudges for more sustainability

Protecting the climate is one of the greatest challenges our society is currently facing. In view of the heated political and social discussions surrounding this topic, the question naturally arises as to whether behavioral-economic insights can be used to ...

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Dominik Enste / Hans-Peter Klös IW-Policy Paper No. 27 1. December 2021

Growth, Equity and Sustainability

In the last two decades, a debate has unfolded around the relationship between growth and well-being that has produced numerous new concepts, indicators and sets of targets. This increasingly includes an emphasis on sustainability concepts.

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