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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. Daniel S. Nagin & James B. Rebitzer & Seth Sanders & Lowell J. Taylor, 2002. "Monitoring, Motivation, and Management: The Determinants of Opportunistic Behavior in a Field Experiment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(4), pages 850-873, September.
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  8. Andrea Borgarello & Pietro Garibaldi & Lia Pacelli, 2003. "Employment Protection Legislation and the Size of Firms," LABORatorio R. Revelli Working Papers Series 23, LABORatorio R. Revelli, Centre for Employment Studies.
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  11. Guido Tabellini, 2008. "The Scope of Cooperation: Values and Incentives," CESifo Working Paper Series 2236, CESifo Group Munich.
  12. Edward Lazear & Ulrike Malmendier & Roberto Weber, 2006. "Sorting, Prices, and Social Preferences," NBER Working Papers 12041, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  14. Polborn Mattias K, 2008. "Competing for Recognition through Public Good Provision," The B.E. Journal of Theoretical Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 8(1), pages 1-25, September.
  15. Dan Ariely & Anat Bracha & Stephan Meier, 2009. "Doing Good or Doing Well? Image Motivation and Monetary Incentives in Behaving Prosocially," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(1), pages 544-55, March.
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. John A. List, 2006. "The Behavioralist Meets the Market: Measuring Social Preferences and Reputation Effects in Actual Transactions," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 114(1), pages 1-37, February.
  19. Harbaugh, William T, 1998. "The Prestige Motive for Making Charitable Transfers," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(2), pages 277-82, May.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. 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.
  2. 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).
  3. Lacetera, Nicola & Macis, Mario, 2008. "Social Image Concerns and Pro-Social Behavior," IZA Discussion Papers 3771, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. Lacetera, Nicola & Macis, Mario & Slonim, Robert, 2010. "Will There Be Blood? Incentives And Substitution Effects In Pro-Social Behavior," Working Papers 2010-02, University of Sydney, School of Economics.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.

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