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Incentives and Voluntary Contributions to Public Goods
Project funded by own resources
Project title Incentives and Voluntary Contributions to Public Goods
Principal Investigator(s) Stutzer, Alois
Co-Investigator(s) Goette, Lorenz
Organisation / Research unit Departement Wirtschaftswissenschaften / Politische Ökonomie (Stutzer)
Project start 01.07.2006
Probable end 31.12.2020
Status Completed

Many private and public organizations rely on voluntary contributions to provide public goods. In order to sustain these organizations, the question arises how the willingness to contribute can be maintained and further encouraged.

In our research, we study voluntary blood donations. These voluntary contributions are necessary to keep up the highly developed medical services in many countries.

Study 1

In study 1, we examine a decision framework in which people are individually asked to either actively consent to or dissent from some prosocial behavior. We hypothesize that confronting individuals with the choice of whether to engage in a specific prosocial behavior contributes to the formation of issue-specific altruistic preferences, while simultaneously involving a commitment. The hypothesis is tested in a large-scale field experiment on blood donation. We find that this “active-decision" intervention substantially increases the actual donation behavior of people who had not fully formed preferences beforehand.

Study 2

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.


Financed by University funds

Published results ()

  ID Autor(en) Titel ISSN / ISBN Erschienen in Art der Publikation
61728  Stutzer, Alois; Götte, Lorenz; Zehnder, Michael  Active decisions and pro-social behavior : a field experiment on blood donation      Publication: Discussion paper / Internet publication 
61732  Goette, Lorenz; Stutzer, Alois  Blood donations and incentives : evidence from a field experiment      Publication: Discussion paper / Internet publication 

Cooperations ()

  ID Kreditinhaber Kooperationspartner Institution Laufzeit - von Laufzeit - bis
396421  Stutzer, Alois  Goette, Lorenz, Professor  University of Bonn  01.01.2005  31.12.2020 

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