Waiting to Give

38 Pages Posted: 4 Oct 2014

See all articles by Ashley Craig

Ashley Craig

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor - Department of Economics; Harvard University

Ellen Garbarino

The University of Sydney

Stephanie Heger

Washington University in St. Louis - Department of Economics

Robert Slonim

The University of Sydney; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Abstract

We estimate the effect of an increase in time cost on the return behavior of blood donors. Using data from the Australia Red Cross Blood Service, we ask what happens when pro-social behavior becomes more costly. Exploiting a natural variation in which donor wait times are random, we use the length of time a donor spends waiting to make his donation as our measure of cost. Our data allows us to go beyond measures of satisfaction and intention and estimate the effect of wait time on return behavior.We estimate that a 38% increase (20 minutes or one standard deviation) in the average wait would result in a 14% decrease in donations per year. Our results thus indicate that waiting is not merely frustrating, but has significant negative long-term social costs. Further, relying only on satisfaction and intention data masks not only the magnitude of the effects but also heterogeneous responses to increased wait time: the return behavior of males is more elastic than females and donors display diminishing sensitivity in the domain of losses. Finally, we discuss the implications of our findings for organizations that operate with a large and diffuse volunteer donor base.

Keywords: pro-social behavior, time cost, blood donation

JEL Classification: D04, D12, D61, D64, I18

Suggested Citation

Craig, Ashley and Garbarino, Ellen and Heger, Stephanie and Slonim, Robert, Waiting to Give. IZA Discussion Paper No. 8491. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2505353

Ashley Craig (Contact Author)

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor - Department of Economics ( email )

611 Tappan Ave
238 Lorch Hall
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1220
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.ashleycraig.com

Harvard University ( email )

Littauer Center
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

HOME PAGE: http://scholar.harvard.edu/ashley-craig

Ellen Garbarino

The University of Sydney ( email )

Stephanie Heger

Washington University in St. Louis - Department of Economics ( email )

One Brookings Drive
St. Louis, MO 63130
United States

Robert Slonim

The University of Sydney ( email )

University of Sydney
Sydney, NC NSW 2006
Australia

IZA Institute of Labor Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

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