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Media Coverage & Charitable Giving After the 2004 Tsunami

  • Philip Brown

    ()

  • Jessica Minty

    ()

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, with an additional minute of nightly news coverage increasing donations by 0.036 standard deviations from the mean, or 13.2% of the average daily donation for the typical relief agency. Similarly, an additional 700-word story in the New York Times or Wall Street Journal raises donations by 18.2% of the daily average. These results are robust to controls for the timing of news coverage and tax considerations. We repeat the analysis using instrumental variables to account for endogeneity bias, and the estimates are unchanged. However, we also find that the effect of news coverage varies considerably by relief agency.

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Paper provided by William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan in its series William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series with number wp855.

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Length: pages
Date of creation: 01 Dec 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wdi:papers:2006-855
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  1. Ribar, David C. & Wilhelm, Mark O., 1995. "Charitable Contributions to International Relief and Development," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 48(2), pages 229-44, June.
  2. Glazer, Amihai & Konrad, Kai A, 1996. "A Signaling Explanation for Charity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(4), pages 1019-28, September.
  3. Greene, Pamela & McClelland, Robert, 2001. "Taxes and Charitable Giving," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 54(n. 3), pages 433-53, September.
  4. Joel Slemrod, 1988. "Are Estimated Tax Elasticities Really Just Tax Evasion Elasticities? The Case of Charitable Contributions," NBER Working Papers 2733, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Falk, Armin, 2004. "Charitable Giving as a Gift Exchange: Evidence From a Field Experiment," CEPR Discussion Papers 4189, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. Armin Falk, 2004. "Charitable Giving as a Gift Exchange – Evidence from a Field Experiment (new title: Gift-Exchange in the Field)," CESifo Working Paper Series 1218, CESifo Group Munich.
  7. Andreoni, James, 1989. "Giving with Impure Altruism: Applications to Charity and Ricardian Equivalence," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(6), pages 1447-58, December.
  8. Steinberg, Richard S, 1987. "Voluntary Donations and Public Expenditures in a Federal System," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(1), pages 24-36, March.
  9. James H. Stock & Motohiro Yogo, 2002. "Testing for Weak Instruments in Linear IV Regression," NBER Technical Working Papers 0284, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Gerald E. Auten & Holger Sieg & Charles T. Clotfelter, 2002. "Charitable Giving, Income, and Taxes: An Analysis of Panel Data," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(1), pages 371-382, March.
  11. Andreoni, James, 1990. "Impure Altruism and Donations to Public Goods: A Theory of Warm-Glow Giving?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 100(401), pages 464-77, June.
  12. Sugden, Robert, 1984. "Reciprocity: The Supply of Public Goods through Voluntary Contributions," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 94(376), pages 772-87, December.
  13. Clotfelter, Charles T., 1985. "Federal Tax Policy and Charitable Giving," National Bureau of Economic Research Books, University of Chicago Press, edition 1, number 9780226110486.
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