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Media Coverage and Charitable Giving after the 2004 Tsunami

Author

Listed:
  • 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.

Suggested Citation

  • Philip H. Brown & Jessica H. Minty, 2008. "Media Coverage and Charitable Giving after the 2004 Tsunami," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 75(1), pages 9-25, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:sej:ancoec:v:75:1:y:2008:p:9-25
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Barış K. Yörük, 2012. "The Effect of Media on Charitable Giving and Volunteering: Evidence from the “Give Five” Campaign," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 31(4), pages 813-836, September.
    2. Brown, Sarah & Harris, Mark N. & Taylor, Karl, 2012. "Modelling charitable donations to an unexpected natural disaster: Evidence from the U.S. Panel Study of Income Dynamics," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 84(1), pages 97-110.
    3. Aldashev, Gani & Marini, Marco & Verdier, Thierry, 2014. "Brothers in alms? Coordination between nonprofits on markets for donations," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 117(C), pages 182-200.
    4. Yörük Bariş K., 2015. "Do Charitable Subsidies Crowd Out Political Giving? The Missing Link between Charitable and Political Contributions," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 15(1), pages 1-29, January.
    5. Pierre-Guillaume Méon & Philip Verwimp, 2016. "Pro-social behavior after a disaster: parochial or universal? Evidence from a natural experiment in Belgium," Working Papers CEB 16-054, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    6. Tiefenbach, Tim & Kohlbacher, Florian, 2015. "Disasters, donations, and tax law changes: Disentangling effects on subjective well-being by exploiting a natural experiment," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 50(C), pages 94-112.
    7. Khim-Yong Goh & Kai-Lung Hui & Ivan P. L. Png, 2011. "Newspaper Reports and Consumer Choice: Evidence from the Do Not Call Registry," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 57(9), pages 1640-1654, February.
    8. Baris Yoruk, 2013. "Are Generous People More Likely to Vote?," Discussion Papers 13-10, University at Albany, SUNY, Department of Economics.
    9. Sarah Smith & Mark Ottoni-Wilhelm & Kimberley Scharf, 2017. "The Donation Response to Natural Disasters," Bristol Economics Discussion Papers 17/688, Department of Economics, University of Bristol, UK.
    10. 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.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • O19 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - International Linkages to Development; Role of International Organizations
    • L31 - Industrial Organization - - Nonprofit Organizations and Public Enterprise - - - Nonprofit Institutions; NGOs; Social Entrepreneurship
    • L82 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Entertainment; Media

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