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Not All Incentives Wash Out the Warm Glow: The Case of Blood Donation Revisited

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  • Joan Costa-i-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 take a different approach by focusing on the nature of the rewards. That is, we examine how favouring different types of incentives are related to the likelihood of donating blood by exploiting a large sample representative of 15 European countries in 2002. Our results show that donors 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 CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 3527.

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Date of creation: 2011
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_3527

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

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  1. Benabou, Roland & Tirole, Jean, 2005. "Incentives and Prosocial Behavior," IZA Discussion Papers 1695, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Ernst Fehr & Armin Falk, 2002. "Psychological Foundations of Incentives," CESifo Working Paper Series 714, CESifo Group Munich.
  3. Seabright, Paul, 2004. "Continuous Preferences Can Cause Discontinuous Choices : an Application to the Impact of Incentives on Altruism," IDEI Working Papers 257, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse.
  4. Uri Gneezy & Aldo Rustichini, 2000. "Pay Enough Or Don'T Pay At All," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 115(3), pages 791-810, August.
  5. Carl Mellström & Magnus Johannesson, 2008. "Crowding Out in Blood Donation: Was Titmuss Right?," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 6(4), pages 845-863, 06.
  6. Harbaugh, William T., 1998. "What do donations buy?: A model of philanthropy based on prestige and warm glow," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(2), pages 269-284, February.
  7. Lacetera, Nicola & Macis, Mario, 2010. "Social image concerns and prosocial behavior: Field evidence from a nonlinear incentive scheme," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 76(2), pages 225-237, November.
  8. Wildman, John & Hollingsworth, Bruce, 2009. "Blood donation and the nature of altruism," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(2), pages 492-503, March.
  9. Lacetera, Nicola & Macis, Mario, 2008. "Social Image Concerns and Pro-Social Behavior," IZA Discussion Papers 3771, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  10. Bruno S. Frey & Reto Jegen, 2000. "Motivation Crowding Theory: A Survey of Empirical Evidence," CESifo Working Paper Series 245, CESifo Group Munich.
  11. Ariely, Dan & Bracha, Anat & Meier, Stephan, 2007. "Doing Good or Doing Well? Image Motivation and Monetary Incentives in Behaving Prosocially," IZA Discussion Papers 2968, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  12. Lacetera, Nicola & Macis, Mario, 2010. "Do all material incentives for pro-social activities backfire? The response to cash and non-cash incentives for blood donations," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 31(4), pages 738-748, August.
  13. Armin Falk & Michael Kosfeld, . "The Hidden Costs of Control," IEW - Working Papers 250, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  14. Le Grand, Julian, 2003. "Motivation, Agency, and Public Policy: Of Knights and Knaves, Pawns and Queens," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199266999, Octomber.
  15. 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, vol. 87(4), pages 746-55, September.
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