Will There Be Blood? Incentives and Substitution Effects in Pro-social Behavior
We 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.
|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
|Order Information:|| Postal: IZA, Margard Ody, P.O. Box 7240, D-53072 Bonn, Germany|
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,"
2008/04, Faculty of Business and Economics - University of Basel.
- 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 08-3, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
- Alvin E. Roth, 2006.
"Repugnance as a Constraint on Markets,"
NBER Working Papers
12702, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- 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.
- 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.
- Dan Ariely & Anat Bracha & Stephan Meier, 2009.
"Doing Good or Doing Well? Image Motivation and Monetary Incentives in Behaving Prosocially,"
American Economic Review,
American Economic Association, vol. 99(1), pages 544-55, March.
- Ariely, Dan & Bracha, Anat & Meier, Stephan, 2007. "Doing Good or Doing Well? Image Motivation and Monetary Incentives in Behaving Prosocially," IZA Discussion Papers 2968, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
- Dan Ariely & Anat Bracha & Stephan Meier, 2007. "Doing good or doing well? Image motivation and monetary incentives in behaving prosocially," Working Papers 07-9, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
- repec:feb:artefa:0106 is not listed on IDEAS
- 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.
- 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.
- Lacetera, Nicola & Macis, Mario, 2008. "Motivating Altruism: A Field Study," IZA Discussion Papers 3770, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
- Harbaugh, William T, 1998. "The Prestige Motive for Making Charitable Transfers," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(2), pages 277-82, May.
- 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.
- Gary S. Becker & Julio Jorge Elías, 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- John List, 2008. "Informed consent in social science," Artefactual Field Experiments 00086, The Field Experiments Website.
- Uri Gneezy & Aldo Rustichini, 2000. "Pay Enough or Don't Pay at All," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(3), pages 791-810.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp4567. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
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.