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Blood Donations and Incentives: Evidence from a Field Experiment

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Author Info

  • Götte, Lorenz

    ()
    (University of Lausanne)

  • Stutzer, Alois

    ()
    (University of Basel)

Abstract

There is a longstanding concern that material incentives might undermine prosocial motivation, leading to a decrease in blood donations rather than an increase. This paper provides an empirical test of how material incentives affect blood donations in a large-scale field experiment spanning three months and involving more than 10,000 previous donors. We examine two types of incentive: a lottery ticket and a free cholesterol test. Lottery tickets significantly increase donations, in particular among less motivated donors. The cholesterol test leads to no discernable impact on usable blood donations. If anything, it creates a small negative selection effect in terms of donations that must be discarded.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 3580.

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Length: 34 pages
Date of creation: Jul 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp3580

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Keywords: prosocial behavior; blood donations; material incentives; field experiment;

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References

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  1. Dean Karlan & John A. List, 2006. "Does Price Matter in Charitable Giving? Evidence from a Large-Scale Natural Field Experiment," Working Papers, The Field Experiments Website 1, The Field Experiments Website.
  2. Dirk Sliwka, 2007. "Trust as a Signal of a Social Norm and the Hidden Costs of Incentive Schemes," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 97(3), pages 999-1012, June.
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  4. Dohmen, Thomas J & Falk, Armin & Huffman, David & Schupp, Jürgen & Sunde, Uwe & Wagner, Gert Georg, 2006. "Individual Risk Attitudes: New Evidence from a Large, Representative, Experimentally-Validated Survey," CEPR Discussion Papers, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers 5517, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Tore Ellingsen & Magnus Johannesson, 2008. "Pride and Prejudice: The Human Side of Incentive Theory," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 98(3), pages 990-1008, June.
  6. Bénabou, Roland & Tirole, Jean, 2007. "Identity, Dignity and Taboos: Beliefs as Assets," CEPR Discussion Papers, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers 6123, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. Rachel Croson & Jen Shang, 2008. "The impact of downward social information on contribution decisions," Experimental Economics, Springer, Springer, vol. 11(3), pages 221-233, September.
  8. Götte, Lorenz & Stutzer, Alois, 2008. "Blood Donations and Incentives: Evidence from a Field Experiment," IZA Discussion Papers 3580, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  9. Uri Gneezy & Aldo Rustichini, 2000. "A fine is a price," Natural Field Experiments 00258, The Field Experiments Website.
  10. Craig E. Landry & Andreas Lange & John A. List & Michael K. Price & Nicholas G. Rupp, 2006. "Toward an Understanding of the Economics of Charity: Evidence from a Field Experiment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, MIT Press, vol. 121(2), pages 747-782, May.
  11. Uri Gneezy & Aldo Rustichini, 2000. "Pay Enough Or Don'T Pay At All," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, MIT Press, vol. 115(3), pages 791-810, August.
  12. Andreoni, James, 1990. "Impure Altruism and Donations to Public Goods: A Theory of Warm-Glow Giving?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, Royal Economic Society, vol. 100(401), pages 464-77, June.
  13. Frey, Bruno S & Jegen, Reto, 2001. " Motivation Crowding Theory," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 15(5), pages 589-611, December.
  14. Steven D. Levitt & John A. List, 2007. "What Do Laboratory Experiments Measuring Social Preferences Reveal About the Real World?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 21(2), pages 153-174, Spring.
  15. Stephan Meier, 2006. "A survey of economic theories and field evidence on pro-social behavior," Working Papers, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston 06-6, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Lorenz Goette & Alois Stutzer, 2008. "Blood Donations and Incentives: Evidence from a Field Experiment," Working papers, Faculty of Business and Economics - University of Basel 2008/04, Faculty of Business and Economics - University of Basel.
  2. Lacetera, Nicola & Macis, Mario, 2008. "Social Image Concerns and Pro-Social Behavior," IZA Discussion Papers 3771, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Iajya, Victor & Lacetera, Nicola & Macis, Mario & Slonim, Robert, 2013. "The effects of information, social and financial incentives on voluntary undirected blood donations: Evidence from a field experiment in Argentina," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 98(C), pages 214-223.
  4. Lacetera, Nicola & Macis, Mario & Slonim, Robert, 2010. "Will There Be Blood? Incentives And Substitution Effects In Pro-Social Behavior," Working Papers, University of Sydney, School of Economics 2010-02, University of Sydney, School of Economics.
  5. 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, Elsevier, vol. 31(4), pages 738-748, August.
  6. 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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