Blood Donations and Incentives: Evidence from a Field Experiment

58 Pages Posted: 24 Apr 2019

See all articles by Lorenz Goette

Lorenz Goette

University of Bonn

Alois Stutzer

University of Basel; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Date Written: April 2019


There is a longstanding concern that material incentives might undermine pro-social 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 rewards: a lottery ticket and a free cholesterol test. Lottery tickets significantly increase donations during the experiment, in particular among less motivated donors. Moreover, no reduction in donations is observed after the experiment. The free cholesterol test leads to no discernable impact on blood donations during and after the experiment.

Keywords: blood donations, field experiment, material incentives, motivation crowding effect, pro-social behavior

JEL Classification: C93, D64, H41, I18

Suggested Citation

Goette, Lorenz and Stutzer, Alois, Blood Donations and Incentives: Evidence from a Field Experiment (April 2019). CEPR Discussion Paper No. DP13677, Available at SSRN:

Lorenz Goette (Contact Author)

University of Bonn ( email )

Regina-Pacis-Weg 3
Postfach 2220
Bonn, D-53012

Alois Stutzer

University of Basel ( email )

Faculty of Business and Economics
Peter Merian-Weg 6
4002 Basel
0041 61 207 3361 (Phone)


IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072

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