Images say more than just words: visual versus text communication to dispel a rent-control misconception

Open Access      |      Forthcoming   

Authors: Jordi Brandts, Isabel Busom, Cristina Lopez-Mayan and Judith Panadés

Experimental Economics

The highly popular belief that rent-control leads to an increase in the amount of affordable housing is in contradiction with ample empirical evidence and congruent theoretical explanations. It can therefore be qualified as a misconception. We present the results of a preregistered on-line experiment in which we study how to dispel this misconception using a refutational approach in two different formats, a video and a text. We find that the refutational video has a significantly higher positive impact on revising the misconception than a refutational text. This effect is driven by individuals who initially agreed with it and depart from it after the treatment. The refutational text, in turn, does not have a significant impact relative to a non-refutational text. Higher cognitive reflective ability is positively associated with revising beliefs in all interventions. Our research shows that visual communication effectively reduces the gap between scientific economic knowledge and the views of citizens.

This paper originally appeared as Barcelona School of Economics Working Paper 1322