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Not all Incentives Wash out the Warm Glow: The Case of Blood Donation Revisited

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  • Joan Costa Font
  • Mireia Jofre-Bonet
  • Steven T. Yen

Abstract

The issue of the nature of the altruism inherent in blood donation and the perverse effects of financial rewards for blood and/or organ donation has been recently revisited in the economic literature with limited consensus. As Titmuss (1970) famously pointed out, providing monetary incentives to blood donors may crowd out blood supply as purely altruistic donors may feel less inclined to donate if a reward is involved - in addition to having the effect of reducing blood quality. In this paper we examine how favouring different types of incentives are related to the likelihood of donating blood by exploiting a large sample representative of the population of fifteen European countries in 2002 containing information on both donation and attitudes towards incentives. Our results show those who have donated are less likely to favour monetary rewards for blood donation but are more likely to favour non-monetary ones. This is consistent with the idea that while monetary rewards may crowd out blood donation, non-monetary rewards do not.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Centre for Economic Performance, LSE in its series CEP Discussion Papers with number dp1157.

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Date of creation: Jul 2012
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Handle: RePEc:cep:cepdps:dp1157

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Web page: http://cep.lse.ac.uk/_new/publications/series.asp?prog=CEP

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Keywords: Altruism; blood donation; incentives; nudging; recursive system; warm glow;

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  1. Seabright, Paul, 2004. "Continuous Preferences Can Cause Discontinuous Choices : an Application to the Impact of Incentives on Altruism," IDEI Working Papers, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse 257, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse.
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  7. Lacetera, Nicola & Macis, Mario, 2009. "Do All Material Incentives for Prosocial Activities Backfire? The Response to Cash and Non-Cash Incentives for Blood Donations," IZA Discussion Papers 4458, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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  10. Lacetera, Nicola & Macis, Mario, 2010. "Social image concerns and prosocial behavior: Field evidence from a nonlinear incentive scheme," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 76(2), pages 225-237, November.
  11. Frey, Bruno S & Oberholzer-Gee, Felix, 1997. "The Cost of Price Incentives: An Empirical Analysis of Motivation Crowding-Out," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 87(4), pages 746-55, September.
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