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Social Image Concerns and Pro-Social Behavior

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Author Info

  • Lacetera, Nicola

    ()
    (University of Toronto)

  • Macis, Mario

    ()
    (Johns Hopkins University)

Abstract

Using longitudinal data on the entire population of blood donors in an Italian town, we examine how donors respond to an award scheme which rewards them with “medals” when they reach certain donation quotas. Our results indicate that donors significantly increase the frequency of their donations immediately before reaching the thresholds for which the rewards are given, but only if the prizes are publicly announced in the local newspaper and awarded in a public ceremony. The results are robust to several specifications, sample definitions, and controls for observable and unobservable heterogeneity. Our findings are consistent with social image concerns being a primary motivator of pro-social behavior, and indicate that symbolic prizes are most effective as motivators when they are awarded publicly. Because we do not detect a reduction in donation frequency after the quotas are reached, this incentive based on social prestige leads to a net increase in the frequency of donations.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 3771.

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Length: 27 pages
Date of creation: Oct 2008
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, 2010, 76 (2), 225-237
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp3771

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Related research

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

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References

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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. 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).
  2. Benabou, Roland & Tirole, Jean, 2009. "Individual and Corporate Social Responsibility," IZA Discussion Papers 4570, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Joan Costa Font & Mireia Jofre-Bonet & Steven T. Yen, 2012. "Not all Incentives Wash out the Warm Glow: The Case of Blood Donation Revisited," CEP Discussion Papers dp1157, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  4. Tonin, Mirco & Vlassopoulos, Michael, 2012. "Experimental Evidence of Self-Image Concerns as Motivation for Giving," IZA Discussion Papers 6388, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  5. Juan M. Cabasés Hita & María Errea Rodríguez, 2010. "Attitudes towards blood and living organ donations," Documentos de Trabajo - Lan Gaiak Departamento de Economía - Universidad Pública de Navarra 1004, Departamento de Economía - Universidad Pública de Navarra.
  6. Jeong, Hyun Ju & Paek, Hye-Jin & Lee, Mira, 2013. "Corporate social responsibility effects on social network sites," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 66(10), pages 1889-1895.
  7. Nicola Lacetera & Mario Macis & Angelo Mele, 2012. "Viral altruism? A natural field experiment of social contagion in on-line networks," Working Papers 12-16, NET Institute.
  8. 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.

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