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Television news and international earthquake relief


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This study combined an instrumental variable approach with a quasi‐experimental design to isolate a naturally occurring, behavioral media effect. The data included measures of real‐world earthquake severity, media coverage, and subsequent relief donations for 22 foreign earthquakes. Levels of relief were compared across three sources: private U.S. citizens, the U.S. government, and international agencies. An instrument based on the number of earthquake‐related deaths was developed to provide an exogenous measure of media coverage. Findings suggest that more U.S. network news coverage increased aggregate donations by private U.S. citizens. By contrast, the amount of U.S. network news coverage was not associated with U.S. government assistance or international aid, although these forms of aid were highly correlated with other (nondeath) measures of severity.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Washington, USA

Publication date: September 1, 1997

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