Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Money and Blood Donation

 Nicola Lacetera, Mario Macis and Robert Slonim "Economic Rewards to Motivate Blood Donations"
Science 24 May 2013:  Vol. 340 no. 6135 pp. 927-928

To set the stage they write that (taking out citations..)

"The position and guidelines of the World Health Organization (WHO) and several national blood collection agencies for nearly 40 years have been based on the view that offering economic incentives to blood donors is detrimental to the quantity and safety of the blood supply. The guidelines suggest that blood should be obtained from unpaid volunteers only. However, whether economic incentives positively or negatively affect blood donations (and other prosocial activities) has remained the subject of debate since the positions were established.''

They conclude

"These studies inform, yet limit, policy implications. First, because rewards were only offered one time or occasionally in all of the studies, we cannot infer the effect of offering rewards all the time. Nonetheless, the success of one-time or sporadic rewards is important because rewards can be offered at a specific time of greatest need, as shortages often occur at predictable times (e.g., winter). [..]


Third, items offered are framed as gifts or rewards rather than “getting paid.”


Fourth, rewards are not provided for making a blood donation, but rather for showing up to donate, which removes the incentive for people to provide false information so that they qualify to donate and consequently obtain the rewards. This practice may be critical for blood safety when incentives are offered.

Fifth, the evidence discussed so far comes from wealthy countries.


Finally, although we focused on studies of the effects of economic rewards, other mechanisms should be investigated. For instance, symbolic rewards and social recognition have enhanced donations among some groups, but not all."

It is important to replicate things we all "knew" are true...

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