Crime and Philanthropy: Prosocial and Antisocial Responses to Mass Shootings

Claude Berrebi, Hanan Yonah*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Mass shootings have a strong impact on public discourse and perception, affecting more than their direct victims. We use data on charitable contributions and criminal activity in the U.S. over the last decade to identify and quantify the effect of mass shootings on prosocial and antisocial behavior. We find that the effect of mass shootings on prosocial behavior, measured primarily by monetary contributions, is positive and statistically significant. However, the directly affected localities react to mass shootings differently than their neighboring communities, decreasing their charitable contributions. Additionally, we are unable to find a statistically significant effect of mass shootings on antisocial behavior, as measured by various crime rates. Furthermore, we show that mass shootings are different than any other type of criminal behavior, including all other violent offenses, in terms of its effect on prosocial behavior.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)99-125
Number of pages27
JournalVictims and Offenders
StatePublished - 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We are grateful to René Bekkers and Pamala Wiepking for very helpful comments and suggestions, and to Ariel Karlinsky for his excellent research assistance. We have also benefited from comments from participants of numerous seminars and conferences, including those of the 2018 ARNOVA conference in Austin, the 2019 ERNOP conference in Basel, and the 2019 Midwest Political Science Association conference in Chicago. Claude Berrebi is grateful for the warm hospitality of the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University and Princeton’s Empirical Studies of Conflict Project (ESOC) while he was working on this research.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020, © 2020 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.


  • Mass shooting
  • antisocial behavior
  • crime
  • philanthropy
  • prosocial behavior


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