Social Interactions and Stigmatized Behavior: "Donating" Blood Plasma in Rural China

49 Pages Posted: 2 Apr 2018

See all articles by Xi Chen

Xi Chen

Department of Health Policy and Management; Yale University - Department of Economics; Yale University - Yale Institution for Social and Policy Studies; IZA

David E. Sahn

Cornell University

Xiaobo Zhang

International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)

Abstract

Despite the resultant disutility, some people, in particular, the poor, are engaged in behaviors that carry social stigma. Empirical studies on stigmatized behavior are rare, largely due to the formidable challenges of collecting data on stigmatized goods and services. In this paper, we add to this limited empirical evidence by examining the behavior of "donating" blood plasma in exchange for cash rewards in China. We do so using two primary data sets: the first is a three-wave, census‐type household survey that enables us to examine the evolving patterns and determinants of "donating" plasma. The second is data on detailed gift exchange records of all households.The data allow us to define reference groups, measure the intensity of social interactions, and identify peer effects using a novel network structure‐based instrumental variable strategy. We find that peer effects influence decisions to "donate" plasma. For example, a one‐standard‐deviation increase in income from "donating" plasma in the peer group increases the value of own plasma "donation" by 0.15 standard deviations. Families with sons have more incentives to "donate" plasma to offset the escalated costs of getting their sons married in a tight marriage market that favors girls.

Keywords: social stigma, social networks, peer influence, plasma "donation", China

JEL Classification: O1, Z1, R2, D8

Suggested Citation

Chen, Xi and Sahn, David E. and Zhang, Xiaobo, Social Interactions and Stigmatized Behavior: "Donating" Blood Plasma in Rural China. IZA Discussion Paper No. 11413. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3153377

Xi Chen (Contact Author)

Department of Health Policy and Management ( email )

60 College St
New Haven, CT 06520
United States

Yale University - Department of Economics ( email )

28 Hillhouse Ave
New Haven, CT 06520-8268
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Yale University - Yale Institution for Social and Policy Studies ( email )

77 Prospect Street
New Haven, CT 06520
United States

HOME PAGE: http://isps.yale.edu/team/xi-chen

IZA ( email )

David E. Sahn

Cornell University ( email )

B16 MVR Hall
Ithaca, NY 14853
United States
607-255-8931 (Phone)
607-255-0178 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://courses.cit.cornell.edu/des16

Xiaobo Zhang

International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) ( email )

2033 K Street, NW
Washington, DC 20006
United States
202-862-5677 (Phone)
202-467-4439 (Fax)

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