Media and Humanitarian Aid: Empirical Evidence from Belgium
This paper investigates the impact of the media on the allocation of humanitarian aid. We analyze the emergency assistance provided by four Belgian aid organizations to disasters that occurred from 2002 until 2004 and the media coverage of these disasters by two Belgian newspapers. We find a correlation between mass media coverage and emergency assistance. However, when correcting for an endogeneity bias, we find no longer a significant impact of the media on the aid allocation process of these organizations, which suggests that the media follow rather than lead the decision to allocate aid. This result is found to be robust irrespective of the selected newspaper, different measures of media coverage and disaster severity.
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