Will There Be Blood? Incentives and Substitution Effects in Pro-social Behavior
AbstractWe examine how economic incentives affect pro-social behavior through the analysis of a unique dataset with information on more than 14,000 American Red Cross blood drives. Our findings are consistent with blood donors responding to incentives in a "standard" way; offering donors economic incentives significantly increases turnout and blood units collected, and more so the greater the incentive's monetary value. In addition, there is no disproportionate increase in donors who come to a drive but are ineligible to donate when incentives are offered. Further evidence from a small-scale field experiment corroborates these findings and confirms that donors are motivated by the economic value of the items offered. We also find that a substantial fraction of the increase in donations due to incentives may be explained by donors substituting away from neighboring drives toward drives where rewards are offered, and the likelihood of this substitution is higher the higher the monetary value of the incentive offered and if neighboring drives do not offer incentives. Thus, extrinsic incentives motivate pro-social behavior, but unless substitution effects are also considered, the effect of incentives may be overestimated.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 4567.
Length: 39 pages
Date of creation: Nov 2009
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, 2012, 4 (1), 186-223 as "Will There be Blood? Incentives and Displacement Effects in Pro-Social Behavior"
Contact details of provider:
Postal: IZA, P.O. Box 7240, D-53072 Bonn, Germany
Phone: +49 228 3894 223
Fax: +49 228 3894 180
Web page: http://www.iza.org
Postal: IZA, Margard Ody, P.O. Box 7240, D-53072 Bonn, Germany
Other versions of this item:
- 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.
- D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
- D64 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Altruism; Philanthropy
- I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2009-12-11 (All new papers)
- NEP-EXP-2009-12-11 (Experimental Economics)
- NEP-SOC-2009-12-11 (Social Norms & Social Capital)
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Lorenz Goette & Alois Stutzer, 2008.
"Blood donations and incentives: evidence from a field experiment,"
08-3, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
- 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).
- 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.
- Alvin E. Roth, 2006.
"Repugnance as a Constraint on Markets,"
NBER Working Papers
12702, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Stephan Meier, 2006. "A survey of economic theories and field evidence on pro-social behavior," Working Papers 06-6, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
- 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.
- Rick Harbaugh & Theodore To, 2005. "False Modesty: When Disclosing Good News Looks Bad," Working Papers 2005-05, Indiana University, Kelley School of Business, Department of Business Economics and Public Policy.
- John List, 2008. "Informed consent in social science," Artefactual Field Experiments 00086, The Field Experiments Website.
- Carl Mellström & Magnus Johannesson, 2008.
"Crowding Out in Blood Donation: Was Titmuss Right?,"
Journal of the European Economic Association,
MIT Press, vol. 6(4), pages 845-863, 06.
- 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.
- Frey, Bruno S & Oberholzer-Gee, Felix, 1997. "The Cost of Price Incentives: An Empirical Analysis of Motivation Crowding-Out," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(4), pages 746-55, September.
- Garbarino, Ellen & Slonim, Robert, 2009. "The robustness of trust and reciprocity across a heterogeneous U.S. population," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 69(3), pages 226-240, March.
- Mattias Polborn, 2007.
"Competing for Recognition through Public Good Provision,"
CESifo Working Paper Series
1920, CESifo Group Munich.
- 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.
- Harbaugh, William T, 1998. "The Prestige Motive for Making Charitable Transfers," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(2), pages 277-82, May.
- Lacetera, Nicola & Macis, Mario, 2008. "Motivating Altruism: A Field Study," IZA Discussion Papers 3770, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
- Uri Gneezy & Aldo Rustichini, 2000.
"Pay Enough Or Don'T Pay At All,"
The Quarterly Journal of Economics,
MIT Press, vol. 115(3), pages 791-810, August.
- 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.
- repec:feb:artefa:0106 is not listed on IDEAS
- Judd B. Kessler & Alvin E. Roth, 2012.
"Organ Allocation Policy and the Decision to Donate,"
American Economic Review,
American Economic Association, vol. 102(5), pages 2018-47, August.
- Judd B. Kessler & Alvin E. Roth, 2011. "Organ Allocation Policy and the Decision to Donate," NBER Working Papers 17324, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- 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.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Mark Fallak).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.