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Mass media, information and demand for environmental quality: Evidence from the “Under the Dome”

Meng Tu, Bing Zhang (), Jianhua Xu and Fangwen Lu

Journal of Development Economics, 2020, vol. 143, issue C

Abstract: This paper estimates the effect of mass media on public willingness to pay (WTP) for better environmental quality. We exploit the exogenous shock of the environmental documentary “Under the Dome” with a regression discontinuity design by using its release as the assignment and the number of days away from the release date as the running variable. Using longitudinal survey data collected in Nanjing, China, we find that “Under the Dome” increases people’s WTP for better air quality by 24.9%, which is equivalent to an increment of CNY 1226 per capita. Further analysis reveals that mass media affect people’s WTP by increasing their awareness of environmental pollution and level of risk perception. Our results also suggest that the documentary has a long-term effect.

Keywords: Mass media; Willingness-to-pay; Air pollution; Risk perception; Under the dome (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: Q51 Q52 H41 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
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DOI: 10.1016/j.jdeveco.2019.102402

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