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Offering Economic Incentives to Attract Blood Donations Should Be Encouraged, Research Team writes in Science
Date:5/23/2013

Baltimore, MD (PRWEB) May 23, 2013

Can economic incentives such as gift cards, T-shirts, and time off from work motivate members of the public to increase their donations of blood?

A team of researchers including Johns Hopkins Carey Business School Assistant Professor Mario Macis says the answer is an emphatic yes. Pointing to a large body of recent research that supports their argument, the three economists write in the May 24, 2013, issue of Science that the World Health Organization and national blood collection agencies should reconsider their opposition to economic incentives for much-needed donations of blood.

Macis and his colleagues -- Nicola Lacetera of the University of Toronto and Robert Slonim of the University of Sydney – state that such opposition has been based on uncontrolled studies using non-random samples. These and other tests typically have suggested that economic incentives can decrease intrinsic motivations to donate and can attract blood donations of dubious quality.

But now field-based evidence from large, representative samples are available, the authors write, and the results clearly refute the previous findings. They cite the work of other researchers, as well as their own extensive work in this area. In one of their studies, the three authors examined individual data from nearly 100,000 donors at 72 American Red Cross blood drives in northern Ohio from September 2009 through August 2010. Gift cards were offered at half of the blood-drive sites; no incentives were provided at the other sites, which served as controls for the study.

They found that an advertised offer of a $5 gift card increased the likelihood of giving among people with a history of donating by 26 percent; a $10 gift card produced a 52 percent rise; and a $15 card caused an uptick of 72 percent.

The offer of gift cards even caused
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