IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

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


  • 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.

Suggested Citation

  • Ignacio Abásolo & Aki Tsuchiya, 2012. "Blood Donation as a Public Good: An Empirical Investigation of the Free-Rider," Working Papers 2012004, The University of Sheffield, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:shf:wpaper:2012004

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    File Function: First version, 2012
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Wildman, John & Hollingsworth, Bruce, 2009. "Blood donation and the nature of altruism," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(2), pages 492-503, March.
    2. 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.
    3. 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.
    4. Andreoni, James, 1995. "Cooperation in Public-Goods Experiments: Kindness or Confusion?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(4), pages 891-904, September.
    5. 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.
    6. 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, December.
    7. Oliver Kim & Mark Walker, 1984. "The free rider problem: Experimental evidence," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 43(1), pages 3-24, January.
    8. 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.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item


    free rider; blood donation; public good;

    JEL classification:

    • H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:shf:wpaper:2012004. 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: (Jacob Holmes). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.