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Motivating Altruism: A Field Study

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Author Info

  • Lacetera, Nicola

    ()
    (University of Toronto)

  • Macis, Mario

    ()
    (Johns Hopkins University)

Abstract

This paper analyzes the effects of a legislative provision that grants a one-day paid leave of absence to blood donors who are employees in Italy. The analysis is based on a unique dataset with the complete donation histories of the blood donors in an Italian town. The cross-sectional variation in job market status and type of employers, and job switching over time by a subset of donors, are the sources of variation we employ to study whether donors are responsive to the paid-day-off incentive in the choice of their donation days, and in the frequency of their donations. Our results indicate that economic considerations do affect blood donation decisions, for donors donate in days of the week that, given the day-off benefit, maximize their material returns in terms of consecutive days off work. We also find evidence, however, consistent with heterogeneous motivations in different donors, since a subset of donors systematically do not take advantage of the material reward. Finally, we find that the day-off privilege leads donors who are employees to make, on average, one extra donation per year. We discuss the implications of our findings for policies aimed at increasing the supply of blood, and more generally for incentivizing pro-social behavior.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 3770.

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Length: 38 pages
Date of creation: Oct 2008
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as 'Time for blood: The Effect of Paid Leave Legislation on Altruistic Behavior' in: Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, 2012, [Online First]
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp3770

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Related research

Keywords: pro-social behavior; public good provision; altruism; incentives; public health;

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References

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  1. 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.
  2. Benabou, Roland & Tirole, Jean, 2005. "Incentives and Prosocial Behavior," IZA Discussion Papers 1695, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. 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.
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  7. Ichino, Andrea & Riphahn, Regina T., 2001. "The Effect of Employment Protection on Worker Effort: A Comparison of Absenteeism During and After Probation," IZA Discussion Papers 385, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  8. Dan Ariely & Anat Bracha & Stephan Meier, 2007. "Doing good or doing well? Image motivation and monetary incentives in behaving prosocially," Working Papers 07-9, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
  9. 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.
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  12. 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.
  13. Glenn Harrison & John List, 2008. "Naturally occurring markets and exogenous laboratory experiments: A case study of the winner's curse," Framed Field Experiments 00266, The Field Experiments Website.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. 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.
  2. Lacetera, Nicola & Macis, Mario & Slonim, Robert, 2009. "Will There Be Blood? Incentives and Substitution Effects in Pro-social Behavior," IZA Discussion Papers 4567, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. 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.
  4. Lan Shi, 2011. "Monetary Rewards, Image Concern, and Intrinsic Motivation: Evidence from a Survey on Blood Donation," Working Papers UWEC-2010-07-R, University of Washington, Department of Economics, revised Feb 2011.
  5. Elena Granaglia, 2009. "The Homo Oeconomicus Paradigm and the Design of Public Policies. Some Underrated Issues," QA - Rivista dell'Associazione Rossi-Doria, Associazione Rossi Doria, issue 1, March.
  6. Lacetera, Nicola & Macis, Mario, 2008. "Social Image Concerns and Pro-Social Behavior," IZA Discussion Papers 3771, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

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