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Do all material incentives for pro-social activities backfire? The response to cash and non-cash incentives for blood donations

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  • Lacetera, Nicola
  • Macis, Mario

Abstract

A number of experimental studies have documented that financial rewards discourage the performance of altruistic activities because they conflict with intrinsic altruistic motivations. However, it is unclear whether this is evidence of a generalized aversion to rewards or, rather, an aversion to receiving specific material prizes, such as cash. We conducted a randomized-controlled experiment, through a survey administered to 467 blood donors in an Italian town, and found that donors are not reluctant to receive compensation in general; a substantial share of respondents declared that they would stop being donors if given 10 Euros in cash, but we do not find such effects when a voucher of the same nominal value is offered instead. The aversion to direct cash payments is particularly marked among women, but does not emerge among individuals who have only recently become donors. All of our findings are robust to regression analyses. Implications for research and public policy are discussed.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Economic Psychology.

Volume (Year): 31 (2010)
Issue (Month): 4 (August)
Pages: 738-748

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Handle: RePEc:eee:joepsy:v:31:y:2010:i:4:p:738-748

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/joep

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Keywords: Altruism Public health Motivation and emotion;

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References

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  1. Susanne Neckermann & Bruno S. Frey, 2008. "Awards as Incentives," CREMA Working Paper Series 2008-31, Center for Research in Economics, Management and the Arts (CREMA).
  2. Sebastian Kube & Michel André Maréchal & Clemens Puppe, 2010. "The currency of reciprocity - gift-exchange in the workplace," IEW - Working Papers 377, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich, revised Aug 2011.
  3. Lorenz Goette & Alois Stutzer, 2008. "Blood Donations and Incentives: Evidence from a Field Experiment," Working papers 2008/04, Faculty of Business and Economics - University of Basel.
  4. Roland Benabou & Jean Tirole, 2003. "Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivation," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 70(3), pages 489-520, 07.
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  6. Rachel Croson & Uri Gneezy, 2009. "Gender Differences in Preferences," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 47(2), pages 448-74, June.
  7. Mellström, Carl & Johannesson, Magnus, 2005. "Crowding Out in Blood Donation: Was Titmuss Right?," Working Papers in Economics 180, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics, revised 08 Feb 2008.
  8. James Andreoni & Lise Vesterlund, 2001. "Which Is The Fair Sex? Gender Differences In Altruism," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 116(1), pages 293-312, February.
  9. Dan Ariely & Anat Bracha & Stephan Meier, 2009. "Doing Good or Doing Well? Image Motivation and Monetary Incentives in Behaving Prosocially," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(1), pages 544-55, March.
  10. Lacetera, Nicola & Macis, Mario, 2008. "Social Image Concerns and Pro-Social Behavior," IZA Discussion Papers 3771, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  11. Fisher, Robert J, 1993. " Social Desirability Bias and the Validity of Indirect Questioning," Journal of Consumer Research, University of Chicago Press, vol. 20(2), pages 303-15, September.
  12. Piper, Greg & Schnepf, Sylke V., 2007. "Gender Differences in Charitable Giving," IZA Discussion Papers 3242, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  13. Gary S. Becker & Julio Jorge El�as, 2007. "Introducing Incentives in the Market for Live and Cadaveric Organ Donations," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 21(3), pages 3-24, Summer.
  14. Waldfogel, Joel, 1993. "The Deadweight Loss of Christmas," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(5), pages 1328-36, December.
  15. Lacetera, Nicola & Macis, Mario, 2008. "Motivating Altruism: A Field Study," IZA Discussion Papers 3770, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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  1. Hide The Blood Money
    by Robin Hanson in Overcoming Bias on 2009-10-25 03:00:47
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