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Online Salience and Charitable Giving: Evidence from SMS Donations


  • Perroni, Carlo

    (University of Warwick)

  • Scharf, Kimberley

    (University of Birmingham and CEPR)

  • Talavera, Oleksandr

    (University of Birmingham)

  • Vi, Linh

    (University of Birmingham)


We explore the link between online attention and charitable donations. Using a unique dataset on phone text donations that includes detailed information on the timing of cash gifts to charities, we link donations to time variation online searches for words that appear in those charities’ mission statements. The results suggest that an increase in the online salience to donors of the activities pursued by different charities affects the number and volume of donations made to those charities and to charities that pursue different goals. We uncover evidence of positive own salience effects and negative cross salience effects on donations.

Suggested Citation

  • Perroni, Carlo & Scharf, Kimberley & Talavera, Oleksandr & Vi, Linh, 2021. "Online Salience and Charitable Giving: Evidence from SMS Donations," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 536, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).
  • Handle: RePEc:cge:wacage:536

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item


    Charitable Donations; Online Search; News Shocks JEL Classification: H41; D12; D64;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods
    • D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis

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