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Blood Donations and Incentives: Evidence from a Field Experiment

  • Götte, Lorenz


    (University of Bonn)

  • Stutzer, Alois


    (University of Basel)

There is a longstanding concern that material incentives might undermine prosocial motivation, leading to a decrease in blood donations rather than an increase. This paper provides an empirical test of how material incentives affect blood donations in a large-scale field experiment spanning three months and involving more than 10,000 previous donors. We examine two types of incentive: a lottery ticket and a free cholesterol test. Lottery tickets significantly increase donations, in particular among less motivated donors. The cholesterol test leads to no discernable impact on usable blood donations. If anything, it creates a small negative selection effect in terms of donations that must be discarded.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 3580.

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Length: 34 pages
Date of creation: Jul 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp3580
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  1. Armin Falk & David Huffman & Gert Wagner & Jurgen Schupp & Thomas Dohmen & Uwe Sunde, 2005. "Individual risk attitudes: New evidence from a large, representative, experimentally-validated survey," Framed Field Experiments 00140, The Field Experiments Website.
  2. 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.
  3. repec:oup:qjecon:v:121:y:2006:i:2:p:747-782 is not listed on IDEAS
  4. Roland Bénabou & Jean Tirole, 2007. "Identity, Dignity and Taboos: Beliefs as Assets," Carlo Alberto Notebooks 50, Collegio Carlo Alberto.
  5. Ellingsen, Tore & Johannesson, Magnus, 2006. "Pride and Prejudice: The Human Side of Incentive Theory," CEPR Discussion Papers 5768, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. Jen Shang & Rachel Croson, 2008. "The impact of downward social information on contribution decisions," Natural Field Experiments 00322, The Field Experiments Website.
  7. Bruno S. Frey & Stephan Meier, . "Social Comparisons and Pro-social Behavior - Testing ‘Conditional Cooperation’ in a Field Experiment," IEW - Working Papers 162, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  8. Frey, Bruno S & Jegen, Reto, 2001. " Motivation Crowding Theory," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 15(5), pages 589-611, December.
  9. Dirk Sliwka, 2007. "Trust as a Signal of a Social Norm and the Hidden Costs of Incentive Schemes," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(3), pages 999-1012, June.
  10. Aldo Rustichini & Uri Gneezy, 2000. "A fine is a price," Natural Field Experiments 00258, The Field Experiments Website.
  11. Dean Karlan & John A. List, 2006. "Does Price Matter in Charitable Giving? Evidence From a Large-Scale Natural Field Experiment," NBER Working Papers 12338, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Craig E. Landry & Andreas Lange & John A. List & Michael K. Price & Nicholas G. Rupp, 2006. "Toward an Understanding of the Economics of Charity: Evidence from a Field Experiment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 121(2), pages 747-782.
  13. Steven D. Levitt & John A. List, 2007. "What Do Laboratory Experiments Measuring Social Preferences Reveal About the Real World?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 21(2), pages 153-174, Spring.
  14. Stephan Meier, 2006. "A survey of economic theories and field evidence on pro-social behavior," Working Papers 06-6, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
  15. repec:oup:qjecon:v:115:y:2000:i:3:p:791-810 is not listed on IDEAS
  16. Andreoni, James, 1990. "Impure Altruism and Donations to Public Goods: A Theory of Warm-Glow Giving?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 100(401), pages 464-77, June.
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