Social Recognition: Experimental Evidence from Blood Donors

76 Pages Posted: 16 Jul 2021 Last revised: 14 Apr 2022

See all articles by Lorenz Goette

Lorenz Goette

University of Lausanne; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Egon Tripodi

University of Essex; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Date Written: July 14, 2021

Abstract

Does social recognition motivate prosocial individuals? We run large-scale experiments among members of Italy's main blood donors association, testing social recognition both through social media and peer groups. We experimentally disentangle visibility concerns and peer comparisons, and we study how exposure to different norms of behavior affects giving. In an original study and two subsequent replications, we find that a simple ask to donate is at least as effective as asks that offer social recognition. A survey experiment with blood donors provides consistent evidence that social recognition backfires when offered to good citizens, as signaling focuses on image motivation. Our results caution against over-reliance on social recognition to promote good citizenship and emphasize the importance of surveying beliefs in the target population to anticipate the outcomes of a policy at scale.

Keywords: Prosocial behavior, blood donations, social recognition, field experiments,social media, WhatsApp

JEL Classification: C93, D64, D91, H41, I12

Suggested Citation

Goette, Lorenz F. and Tripodi, Egon, Social Recognition: Experimental Evidence from Blood Donors (July 14, 2021). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3886951 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3886951

Lorenz F. Goette

University of Lausanne ( email )

Department of Economics
Batiment Internef
Lausanne, 1015
Switzerland
(021) 692'3496 (Phone)

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

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

HOME PAGE: http://www.iza.org

Egon Tripodi (Contact Author)

University of Essex ( email )

Wivenhoe Park
Colchester, Essex CO4 3SQ
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://egontripodi.com

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute) ( email )

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

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