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Blood donation and the nature of altruism

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  • Wildman, John
  • Hollingsworth, Bruce

Abstract

Approximately 10% of people have O-negative blood. Because it can be transfused into almost anyone, hospitals particularly value such blood. We use this fact, together with the assumption that blood types are exogenously assigned by nature, to design an empirical inquiry into altruism. We also investigate the timing of donations, especially focussing on the behaviour of new and established donors. We show that O-negative blood donors donate no more often than other people. Thus individuals apparently do not exhibit pure altruism. We speculate that instead blood donors may be driven by a broad notion of duty rather than by a far-sighted, rational unselfishness.

Suggested Citation

  • Wildman, John & Hollingsworth, Bruce, 2009. "Blood donation and the nature of altruism," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(2), pages 492-503, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jhecon:v:28:y:2009:i:2:p:492-503
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    Cited by:

    1. Paraskevaidis, Pavlos & Andriotis, Konstantinos, 2017. "Altruism in tourism: Social Exchange Theory vs Altruistic Surplus Phenomenon in host volunteering," Annals of Tourism Research, Elsevier, vol. 62(C), pages 26-37.
    2. Ignacio Abásolo & Aki Tsuchiya, 2014. "Blood donation as a public good: an empirical investigation of the free rider problem," The European Journal of Health Economics, Springer;Deutsche Gesellschaft für Gesundheitsökonomie (DGGÖ), vol. 15(3), pages 313-321, April.
    3. Joan Costa-Font & Mireia Jofre-Bonet & Steven T. Yen, 2013. "Not All Incentives Wash Out the Warm Glow: The Case of Blood Donation Revisited," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 66(4), pages 529-551, November.
    4. 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.
    5. Ignacio Abásolo & Aki Tsuchiya, 2012. "Blood Donation as a Public Good: An Empirical Investigation of the Free-Rider," Working Papers 2012004, The University of Sheffield, Department of Economics.
    6. Sun, Tianshu & Lu, Susan Feng & Jin, Ginger Zhe, 2016. "Solving shortage in a priceless market: Insights from blood donation," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(C), pages 149-165.

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