How Much Are Thoughts And Prayers Worth? : Planet Money A gesture which is given out freely to victims of big, catastrophic events are thoughts and prayers. But what if you could assign a monetary value to this gesture?
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How Much Are Thoughts And Prayers Worth?

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How Much Are Thoughts And Prayers Worth?

How Much Are Thoughts And Prayers Worth?

How Much Are Thoughts And Prayers Worth?

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/763964252/764017694" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
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Tomohiro Ohsumi/Getty Images
TOKYO, JAPAN - SEPTEMBER 16: A woman prays at a temple in the Sugamo shopping district on September 16, 2019 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Tomohiro Ohsumi/Getty Images)
Tomohiro Ohsumi/Getty Images

In the aftermath of catastrophic events such as a mass shooting or natural disaster, politicians often offer up their thoughts and prayers to victims. Critics then hit back, condemning the phrase as meaningless — with no real value or impact. Now a new study from economists finds that prayers might have an actual dollar value, and they may also have real consequences for charitable giving in the wake of catastrophe, but not in the way you might think.

Source: Thunström, Linda and Shiri Noy, "The Value of Thoughts and Prayers", Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2019

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