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Poutvaara, Panu; Ropponen, Olli (2018): Shocking news and cognitive performance. In: European Journal of Political Economy, Vol. 51: pp. 93-106
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Abstract

We study how shocking news affects cognitive performance. Identifying these effects makes societies more resilient by helping to adjust policy responses to reduce indirect costs of future atrocities. Our analysis is based on a school shooting that coincided with national matriculation exams, allowing a difference-in-differences analysis. We find a substantial negative effect on males: their average performance dropped by seven percent. The average performance of females was unaffected. Our findings suggest that a shocking event may call for psychological support for young people even in communities that are not directly affected.