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Crowding Out in Blood Donation: Was Titmuss Right?

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  • Mellström, Carl

    ()
    (Department of Economics, School of Business, Economics and Law, Göteborg University)

  • Johannesson, Magnus

    ()
    (Department of Economics, Stockholm School of Economics)

Abstract

In his seminal 1970 book, The Gift Relationship, Richard Titmuss argued that monetary compensation for donating blood might crowd out the supply of blood donors. To test this claim we carry out a field experiment with three different treatments. In the first treatment subjects are given the opportunity to become blood donors without any compensation. In the second treatment subjects receive a payment of SEK 50 (approx. $7) for becoming blood donors, and in the third treatment subjects can choose between a SEK 50 payment and donating SEK 50 to charity. The results differ markedly between men and women. For men the supply of blood donors is not significantly different among the three experimental groups. For women there is a significant crowding out effect. The supply of blood donors decreases by almost half when a monetary payment is introduced. There is also a significant effect of allowing individuals to donate the payment to charity, and this effect fully counteracts the crowding out effect.

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2077/2741
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers in Economics with number 180.

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Length: 35 pages
Date of creation: 06 Oct 2005
Date of revision: 08 Feb 2008
Publication status: Forthcoming in Journal of the European Economic Association , 2008, pages xx-xx.
Handle: RePEc:hhs:gunwpe:0180

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Postal: Department of Economics, School of Business, Economics and Law, University of Gothenburg, Box 640, SE 405 30 GÖTEBORG, Sweden
Phone: 031-773 10 00
Web page: http://www.handels.gu.se/econ/
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Keywords: Crowding out; monetary incentives; field experiments; altruism;

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  1. Carrots vs sticks: some principles
    by chris dillow in Stumbling and Mumbling on 2008-07-12 12:16:33
  2. Incentives in the public sector
    by chris dillow in Stumbling and Mumbling on 2006-05-18 09:55:36
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