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Social Interactions and Stigmatized Behavior: "Donating" Blood Plasma in Rural China

Author

Listed:
  • Chen, Xi

    () (Yale University)

  • Sahn, David E.

    () (Cornell University)

  • Zhang, Xiaobo

    () (Peking University)

Abstract

Despite the resultant disutility, some people, in particular, the poor, are engaged in behaviors that carry social stigma. Empirical studies on stigmatized behavior are rare, largely due to the formidable challenges of collecting data on stigmatized goods and services. In this paper, we add to this limited empirical evidence by examining the behavior of "donating" blood plasma in exchange for cash rewards in China. We do so using two primary data sets: the first is a three-wave, census‐type household survey that enables us to examine the evolving patterns and determinants of "donating" plasma. The second is data on detailed gift exchange records of all households. The data allow us to define reference groups, measure the intensity of social interactions, and identify peer effects using a novel network structure‐based instrumental variable strategy. We find that peer effects influence decisions to "donate" plasma. For example, a one‐standard‐deviation increase in income from "donating" plasma in the peer group increases the value of own plasma "donation" by 0.15 standard deviations. Families with sons have more incentives to "donate" plasma to offset the escalated costs of getting their sons married in a tight marriage market that favors girls.

Suggested Citation

  • Chen, Xi & Sahn, David E. & Zhang, Xiaobo, 2018. "Social Interactions and Stigmatized Behavior: "Donating" Blood Plasma in Rural China," IZA Discussion Papers 11413, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp11413
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Andreas Ammermueller & Jörn-Steffen Pischke, 2009. "Peer Effects in European Primary Schools: Evidence from the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 27(3), pages 315-348, July.
    2. Chen, Xi, 2014. "Gift-giving and Network Structure in Rural China: Utilizing Long-term Spontaneous Gift Records," IZA Discussion Papers 8642, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    3. Timothy G. Conley & Christopher R. Udry, 2010. "Learning about a New Technology: Pineapple in Ghana," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(1), pages 35-69, March.
    4. Charles F. Manski, 2000. "Economic Analysis of Social Interactions," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 14(3), pages 115-136, Summer.
    5. Sanjeev Goyal & Marco J. van der Leij & José Luis Moraga-Gonzalez, 2006. "Economics: An Emerging Small World," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 114(2), pages 403-432, April.
    6. Lee, Lung-fei, 2007. "Identification and estimation of econometric models with group interactions, contextual factors and fixed effects," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 140(2), pages 333-374, October.
    7. Eiji Mangyo & Albert Park, 2011. "Relative Deprivation and Health: Which Reference Groups Matter?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 46(3), pages 459-481.
    8. Charles F. Manski, 1993. "Identification of Endogenous Social Effects: The Reflection Problem," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 60(3), pages 531-542.
    9. Case, Anne C, 1991. "Spatial Patterns in Household Demand," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 59(4), pages 953-965, July.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    social stigma; social networks; peer influence; plasma donation; China;

    JEL classification:

    • O1 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development
    • Z1 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics
    • R2 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Household Analysis
    • D8 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty

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