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Blood Donation as a Public Good: An Empirical Investigation of the Free-Rider

Listed author(s):
  • Ignacio Abásolo


    (Facultad de Ciencias Económicas y Empresariales, Universidad de La Laguna, Spain)

  • Aki Tsuchiya


    (Department of Economics, The University of Sheffield)

A voluntary blood donation system can be seen as a public good. People can take advantage without contributing, which leads to the so called free-rider problem. An empirical study is undertaken to analyse the extent of free-riding and its determinants in this context. Interviews of the general public in Spain (n=1,211) ask whether respondents are (or have been) regular blood donors; and if not, the reason. Free-riders are defined as those individuals who have no medical reason that disables them to donate blood and are not blood donors. We distinguish four different categories of free-riders depending on the reason given for not donating. Binomial and multinomial logit models are specified to estimate the effect of individual characteristics on both the propensity to free-ride and the likelihood to belong to one of the free-rider categories. Model estimates show that amongst those individuals who are able to donate, there is a 67% probability of being a free-rider. The most likely free-rider is female, single, with primary school or no education and who abstained in the 2004 elections. Gender, age, religion practice, political participation, and income of the region of residence are found to be background variables that explain the type of free-rider.

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Paper provided by The University of Sheffield, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 2012004.

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Length: 21 pages
Date of creation: Jan 2012
Handle: RePEc:shf:wpaper:2012004
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  1. Andreoni, James, 1988. "Why free ride? : Strategies and learning in public goods experiments," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(3), pages 291-304, December.
  2. Chliaoutakis, Joannes & Trakas, Deanna J. & Socrataki, Fotini & Lemonidou, Chrysoula & Papaioannou, Dimitris, 1994. "Blood donor behaviour in Greece: Implications for health policy," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 38(10), pages 1461-1467, May.
  3. Brunner, Eric J, 1998. "Free Riders or Easy Riders?: An Examination of the Voluntary Provision of Public Radio," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 97(4), pages 587-604, December.
  4. Oliver Kim & Mark Walker, 1984. "The free rider problem: Experimental evidence," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 43(1), pages 3-24, January.
  5. Andreoni, James, 1995. "Cooperation in Public-Goods Experiments: Kindness or Confusion?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(4), pages 891-904, September.
  6. Wildman, John & Hollingsworth, Bruce, 2009. "Blood donation and the nature of altruism," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(2), pages 492-503, March.
  7. Lipford, Jody W, 1995. "Group Size and the Free-Rider Hypothesis: An Examination of New Evidence from Churches," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 83(3-4), pages 291-303, June.
  8. J. Scott Long & Jeremy Freese, 2006. "Regression Models for Categorical Dependent Variables using Stata, 2nd Edition," Stata Press books, StataCorp LP, edition 2, number long2, January.
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