Chris Blattman

Markets in bloody everything

We present evidence from nearly 14,000 American Red Cross blood drives and from a natural field experiment showing that economic incentives have a positive effect on blood donations without increasing the fraction of donors who are ineligible to donate. The effect increases with the incentive’s economic value. However, a substantial proportion of the increase in donations is explained by donors leaving neighboring drives without incentives to attend drives with incentives


A new paper in AEJ Policy by Lacetera, Macis and Slonim.

One Response

  1. The authors say that there is no symbolic value in increasingly large gift-cards, but seem to offer no justification – if the core of the psychological argument for crowding out effects is that there is a significant difference between extrinsic and intrinsic motivation, then they need to account for any social signaling effect of larger gifts – be they material or otherwise. In other words, might there not be a correlation between the material size of the gifts, which they account for, and the social signal of larger gifts, which ends up in the error term? Are the vouchers used by people? Just a month ago, I chose the cat-food that gave me a voucher over the cat-food which didn’t, even though I knew I probably wouldn’t get around to use it…
    Maybe we have a culture which is hypocritical: we want to give each other material incentives but have to ‘hide’ it behind courtesies?

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