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Federal Reserve Bank of Boston
Working Papers
Blood donations and incentives: evidence from a field experiment
Lorenz Goette
Alois Stutzer

There is a longstanding concern that material incentives might undermine prosocial motivation, leading to a decrease in blood donations rather than an increase. This paper provides an empirical test of how material incentives affect blood donations in a large-scale field experiment spanning three months and involving more than 10,000 previous donors. We examine two types of incentive: a lottery ticket and a free cholesterol test. Lottery tickets significantly increase donations, in particular among less motivated donors. The cholesterol test leads to no discernable impact on usable blood donations. If anything, it creates a small negative selection effect in terms of donations that must be discarded.

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Lorenz Goette & Alois Stutzer, Blood donations and incentives: evidence from a field experiment, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, Working Papers 08-3, 2008.
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Keywords: Human behavior ; Altruism
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