tsunami, media, disaster, donations, tobit model, endogeneity, charity
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 in a tobit framework, we show that media coverage of disasters increases charitable donations, with an additional minute of nightly news coverage increasing donations by 0.036 standard deviations from the mean. We repeat the analysis using instrumental variables in a tobit model to account for endogeneity, and the estimates are unchanged. We also show that the magnitude and sign of media impact vary by news source and relief agency.
Media Coverage and Charitable Giving After the 2004 Tsunami Philip H. Brown, Jessica H. Minty Goldfarb Center Working Paper No. 2006-002 June 2006