Monetary Reward Decrease People’s Motivation to Give Blood
Topic: How the introduction of monetary reward may influence people’s inclination to give blood
Researchers: Carl Mellström (Göteborg University, Sweden), Magnus Johannesson (Professor of Economics, Stockholm School of Economics, Sweden)
Published By: Journal of the European Economic Association
Formal Reference: Carl Mellström and Magnus Johannesson, “Crowding Out in Blood Donation: Was Titmuss Right?”, Journal of the European Economic Association, 6, no.4 (June 2008), 845-863.
Main Conclusion: At least for women, the introduction of monetary reward reduces motivation to give blood
Description of Experiment
a. Researcher visited a regional blood center in Gothenburg, Sweden, and identified 153 women who were interested in giving blood.
b. These women were divided into 3 group
Group A. was told that blood donation was voluntary.
Group B. was offered 50 Swedish kronor (= $7) for giving blood.
Group C. was offered 50 Swedish kronor (= $7) for giving blood with an immediate offer to donate this amount to a children’s cancer charity.
Group A. – 52% decided to give blood.
Group B. – 30% decided to give blood.
Group C. – 53% decided to give blood.
d. The experiment was replicated with 119 men, with no statistically significant effect on the decision to give blood.
At least for women, the introduction of monetary reward reduces motivation to give blood. However, the possibility of immediately donating the reward to a good cause may alleviate the negative effect of the monetary reward.
No clear explanation for the difference between men and women.
crowding out in blood donation
In Italy – when the government gave blood donors one-day paid leave, donations increased (see: Nicola Lacetera and Mario Macis, “Motivating Altruism: A Field Study”, Institute for the Study of Labor Discussion, Paper no. 3770, October 28, 2008). A possible explanation: the paid leave wasn’t perceived as a reward, it was perceived as a removal of an obstacle (losing a day’s pay) on the donars’ way to give blood.
blood donations in Italy