Social Recognition: Experimental Evidence from Blood Donors
57 Pages Posted: 16 Jul 2021
Date Written: July 14, 2021
Does social recognition motivate repeat contributors? We conduct large-scale experiments among members of Italy's main blood donors association, testing social recognition both through social media and in peer groups. We experimentally disentangle visibility concerns, peer comparisons and simple ask effects, and we study how exposure to different norms of behavior affects giving. Overall, asking increases giving by 20.4 percent. However, a simple ask to donate is at least as effective as asks that emphasize social recognition. Using peer groups, we show that visibility concerns do not generate additional donations, and we find that donations respond weakly and non-monotonically to social norms of giving. In an original study and two subsequent replications, we find no evidence that donors give blood for the prospect of their donations being observed by others on social media. Overall, our findings caution against over-reliance on social recognition to promote good citizenship.
Keywords: Prosocial behavior, blood donations, social recognition, field experiments,social media, WhatsApp
JEL Classification: C93, D64, D91, H41, I12
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