Myron Scholes Forum, December 4, 2014
Matthew Gentzkow, Richard O. Ryan Professor of Economics and Neubauer Family Faculty Fellow at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business
New technologies have transformed the media landscape, and with it the way Americans learn about current affairs. Cable news is ever more ideological and opinionated. The Internet provides a dizzying array of sources covering events from every conceivable perspective. Information can be disseminated more widely and cheaply than ever before, yet investment in journalism, the hard business of gathering and making sense of information, seems possibly on the brink of collapse.
What are the implications for the health of our democracy? Are we heading toward a Jeffersonian ideal where all possible views and opinions are aired in a robust marketplace of ideas? Or toward a world of polarization and ignorance, with citizens’ biases and preconceptions endlessly reinforced by Internet echo chambers? Every day seems to bring another breathless account, predicting we are on the verge of either utopia or disaster. Matthew Gentzkow, Richard O. Ryan Professor of Economics at Chicago Booth, pulls together hard evidence and frontier theory to cut through the hyperbole, offering a balanced account of what we know, where we have been, and where we are going.