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Media Coverage and Charitable Giving after the 2004 Tsunami

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Author Info

  • Philip H. Brown

    ()
    (Department of Economics, Colby College, 5246 Mayflower Hill, Waterville, ME 04901, USA)

  • Jessica H. Minty

    ()
    (Analysis Group, Inc., 111 Huntington Avenue, 10th Floor, Boston, MA 02199, USA;)

Abstract

Media coverage of humanitarian crises is widely believed to influence charitable giving, yet this assertion has received little empirical scrutiny. Using Internet donations after the 2004 tsunami as a case study, we show that media coverage of disasters has a dramatic impact on donations to relief agencies. An additional minute of nightly news coverage or an additional story in major newspapers raises donations by 17–21%, controlling for the time that has elapsed since the disaster, for tax considerations, and for weekends. Repeating the analysis using instrumental variables to account for simultaneity and omitted variable bias, we find that an additional minute of news coverage raises donations by about 2.5%, an effect that remains both economically and statistically significant. We also find evidence of donor fatigue as well as evidence that tax incentives are effective in increasing charitable donations.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Southern Economic Association in its journal Southern Economic Journal.

Volume (Year): 75 (2008)
Issue (Month): 1 (July)
Pages: 9-25

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Handle: RePEc:sej:ancoec:v:75:1:y:2008:p:9-25

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Web page: http://www.southerneconomic.org/
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Cited by:
  1. Baris K. Yörük, 2009. "The Effect of Media on Charitable Giving and Volunteering: Evidence from the `Give Five' Campaign," Discussion Papers 09-02, University at Albany, SUNY, Department of Economics.
  2. Chiou, Lesley & Lopez, Mary, 2010. "The reality of reality television: Does reality TV influence local crime rates?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 108(3), pages 330-333, September.
  3. Baris Yoruk, 2013. "Are Generous People More Likely to Vote?," Discussion Papers 13-10, University at Albany, SUNY, Department of Economics.
  4. Sarah Brown & Mark N. Harris & Karl Taylor, 2009. "Modelling Charitable Donations to an Unexpected Natural Disaster: Evidence from the U.S. Panel Study of Income Dynamics," Working Papers 2009015, The University of Sheffield, Department of Economics, revised Sep 2009.
  5. Baris Yoruk, 2013. "Do Charitable Subsidies Crowd Out Political Giving? The Missing Link Between Charitable and Political Contributions," Discussion Papers 13-09, University at Albany, SUNY, Department of Economics.

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