Friday, November 7, 2008

Blood donation

Gave blood last week and reached my four gallon donation the previous donation. The ARC seem to be more efficient these days although I wish they would stop using SSNs for identifying information.

Anyway, came across this (ht: Mark Thoma): Incentives for altruism? The case of blood donations:
Using a longitudinal dataset including the donation histories of all donors of an Italian town as well as demographic and employment information on the donors, we have studied (1) the impact of a legislative provision that guarantees Italian blood donors who are employees a paid day off work, and (2) the impact of an incentive scheme that offers symbolic rewards (“medals”) with social recognition value but no economic value to repeat donors. Our current results show that donors not only do not refuse the day-off incentive, but they respond to it by clustering their donation in those days (such as Fridays) which carry a high return in terms of consecutive days of leisure. This indicates that "material" considerations dominate over the potentially negative social-image effects of responding positively to economic incentives. We also show that the day-off privilege leads donors who are employees to make, on average, one extra donation per year.

I can certainly agree that a day off is warranted. I've noticed that over the years it's taking me ever increasingly longer to get over the effects (wooziness/light-headedness/weakness) of blood donation. Currently, I'm not really fully back to myself until about 5 hours later.

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