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Waiting To Give

Author

Listed:
  • Craig, Ashley

    () (Harvard University)

  • Garbarino, Ellen

    () (University of Sydney)

  • Heger, Stephanie A.

    () (University of Sydney)

  • Slonim, Robert

    () (University of Sydney)

Abstract

We estimate the effect of an increase in time cost on the return behavior of blood donors. Using data from the Australia Red Cross Blood Service, we ask what happens when pro-social behavior becomes more costly. Exploiting a natural variation in which donor wait times are random, we use the length of time a donor spends waiting to make his donation as our measure of cost. Our data allows us to go beyond measures of satisfaction and intention and estimate the effect of wait time on return behavior. We estimate that a 38% increase (20 minutes or one standard deviation) in the average wait would result in a 14% decrease in donations per year. Our results thus indicate that waiting is not merely frustrating, but has significant negative long-term social costs. Further, relying only on satisfaction and intention data masks not only the magnitude of the effects but also heterogeneous responses to increased wait time: the return behavior of males is more elastic than females and donors display diminishing sensitivity in the domain of losses. Finally, we discuss the implications of our findings for organizations that operate with a large and diffuse volunteer donor base.

Suggested Citation

  • Craig, Ashley & Garbarino, Ellen & Heger, Stephanie A. & Slonim, Robert, 2014. "Waiting To Give," IZA Discussion Papers 8491, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp8491
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Goette, Lorenz & Stutzer, Alois, 2008. "Blood donations and incentives : evidence from a field experiment," Working papers 2008/05, Faculty of Business and Economics - University of Basel.
    2. James Andreoni & Eleanor Brown & Isaac Rischall, 2003. "Charitable Giving by Married Couples Who Decides and Why Does it Matter?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 38(1).
    3. 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 544-555, March.
    4. Jean Tirole & Roland Bénabou, 2006. "Incentives and Prosocial Behavior," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(5), pages 1652-1678, December.
    5. Nicola Lacetera & Mario Macis & Robert Slonim, 2012. "Will There Be Blood? Incentives and Displacement Effects in Pro-social Behavior," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 4(1), pages 186-223, February.
    6. David Card & Alexandre Mas & Enrico Moretti & Emmanuel Saez, 2012. "Inequality at Work: The Effect of Peer Salaries on Job Satisfaction," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(6), pages 2981-3003, October.
    7. Uri Gneezy & Stephan Meier & Pedro Rey-Biel, 2011. "When and Why Incentives (Don't) Work to Modify Behavior," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 25(4), pages 191-210, Fall.
    8. Amos Tversky & Daniel Kahneman, 1991. "Loss Aversion in Riskless Choice: A Reference-Dependent Model," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 106(4), pages 1039-1061.
    9. James Andreoni & Lise Vesterlund, 2001. "Which is the Fair Sex? Gender Differences in Altruism," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 116(1), pages 293-312.
    10. Simon Gachter & Ernst Fehr, 2000. "Cooperation and Punishment in Public Goods Experiments," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(4), pages 980-994, September.
    11. Lacetera, Nicola & Macis, Mario, 2010. "Do all material incentives for pro-social activities backfire? The response to cash and non-cash incentives for blood donations," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 31(4), pages 738-748, August.
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    Cited by:

    1. Slonim, Robert & Wang, Carmen, 2016. "Market Design for Altruistic Supply: Evidence from the Lab," IZA Discussion Papers 9650, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    2. Muriel Niederle, 2014. "Gender," NBER Working Papers 20788, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Anastasia Danilov & Timo Vogelsang, 2016. "Time for helping," Journal of the Economic Science Association, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 2(1), pages 36-47, May.
    4. Christine L. Exley & Stephen J. Terry, 2015. "Wage Elasticities in Working and Volunteering: The Role of Reference Points in a Laboratory Study," Harvard Business School Working Papers 16-062, Harvard Business School, revised Jun 2017.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    time cost; pro-social behavior; blood donation;

    JEL classification:

    • D04 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Microeconomic Policy: Formulation; Implementation; Evaluation
    • D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
    • D61 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Allocative Efficiency; Cost-Benefit Analysis
    • D64 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Altruism; Philanthropy; Intergenerational Transfers
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health

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