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Active Decisions and Prosocial Behaviour: A Field Experiment on Blood Donation

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Abstract

Assigning a subjective value to a contribution to a public good often requires reflection. For many reasons, this reflection may be put off, reinforcing the underprovision of public goods. We hypothesise that nudging individuals to reflect on whether to contribute to a public good leads to the formation of issue‐specific altruistic preferences. The hypothesis is tested in a large‐scale field experiment on blood donations. We find that an ‘active‐decision’ intervention substantially increases donations among subjects who had not previously thought about the importance of donating blood. By contrast, contributions of individuals who had previously engaged in such reflection are unchanged.

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... Instead, they may accept whatever choice is made on their behalf by other agents or a default choice. 1 While most previous studies focused on the effectiveness (win vs. loss) of active decision-making (e.g. van Vuuren and Grundlingh 2001;Beshears et al. 2008;Deslauriers, Schelew, and Wieman 2011;Stutzer, Goette, and Zehnder 2011), studies of passive decision-making, in particular the comparison between active and passive decision-making, are limited, although passive decision-making is prevalent in our daily lives. ...
... For example, studies of decisions on retirement investment have shown that individuals are more likely to enroll in retirement plans and choose higher saving rates when they are required to make active decisions (Carroll et al. 2005;Beshears et al. 2008). Other studies have examined active decisions in regard to consumer behavior (Kizgin, Hiz, andBenli 2013), social settings (van Vuuren andGrundlingh 2001;Stutzer, Goette, and Zehnder 2011), health care (Peters and Slovic 2000), and education (Deslauriers, Schelew, and Wieman 2011). The findings from these studies demonstrate that active decision-making may be associated with better decision effectiveness (Watanabe, Takahashi, and Kai 2008;Stutzer, Goette, and Zehnder 2011). ...
... Other studies have examined active decisions in regard to consumer behavior (Kizgin, Hiz, andBenli 2013), social settings (van Vuuren andGrundlingh 2001;Stutzer, Goette, and Zehnder 2011), health care (Peters and Slovic 2000), and education (Deslauriers, Schelew, and Wieman 2011). The findings from these studies demonstrate that active decision-making may be associated with better decision effectiveness (Watanabe, Takahashi, and Kai 2008;Stutzer, Goette, and Zehnder 2011). ...
Article
Previous studies have consistently indicated the important role of emotional experience in decision-making. While both active and passive decision-making coexist in our daily lives, whether and how active and passive decision-making induce different emotional experience remains unclear. In the present research we conduct three studies to examine differences in emotional experience associated with active and passive decisions at multiple levels. First, at the individual level, using both active and passive modes of the Balloon Analog Risk Task in a laboratory behavior study, we demonstrate that active decision-making is associated with more positive emotional experience compared to passive decision-making, including more happiness, less distress, a greater sense of control, and a stronger sense of achievement. Second, at the neural level, we use functional magnetic resonance imaging and find greater activation in the brain’s emotional circuits during active decisions compared to passive decisions, regardless of the decision outcomes. Finally, at the population level, we conduct a large-scale survey to capture the perception of emotional experience during real-world active and passive decisions, and our results confirm that active decisions engender a greater sense of achievement and sense of control and people prefer active decisions to passive decisions. These findings provide valuable insights into the role of emotion experience in decision-making research and practices.
... Hence, blood donation is frequently used by economists and sociologists in their attempts to understand the voluntary provision of public goods (Stutzer et al. 2011;Lacetera et al. 2012). Of course, blood donation is not directly relevant for (public) organizations, but due to the costly valuation process involved in the donation process (Stutzer et al. 2011), this manifestation of a prosocial deed is similar to types of prosocial behaviour performed in the organizational context that require the investment of individual resources from the employee (Bolino and Grant 2016). ...
... Hence, blood donation is frequently used by economists and sociologists in their attempts to understand the voluntary provision of public goods (Stutzer et al. 2011;Lacetera et al. 2012). Of course, blood donation is not directly relevant for (public) organizations, but due to the costly valuation process involved in the donation process (Stutzer et al. 2011), this manifestation of a prosocial deed is similar to types of prosocial behaviour performed in the organizational context that require the investment of individual resources from the employee (Bolino and Grant 2016). ...
Article
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The claim that Public Service Motivation is an antecedent of prosocial behavior has often been empirically tested and supported. However, closer inspection of this literature reveals large disparities in relating the two constructs. One reason that could explain such differences is that the relationship between PSM and prosocial behaviors has been primarily tested using self‐reported cross‐sectional, single‐rater and same‐survey data. While all of these are widely used methodological approaches in social sciences, they are also susceptible to potential biases. We conduct two comparative studies to re‐examine this relationship. Study 1 utilizes self‐reported cross‐sectional, single‐rater and same‐survey data linking PSM and prosocial behavior, revealing a positive relationship with PSM's Compassion dimension. Study 2 involves observing actual prosocial behavior in a real‐life setting. Then, the correlation between PSM and prosocial behavior disappears. We conclude by discussing the possible reasons that could lead to the differences found across the two studies. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
... Despite the relevance of nudging for consumer choice behavior and their wide-spread implementations in practical settings, there is still only few research on whether the effectiveness of these nudges depends on an individual's personality (Jung & Mellers, 2016;Otto, Clarkson, & Kardes, 2016;Stutzer, Goette, & Zehnder, 2011). However, the study of personality is relevant for both, practical and theoretical purposes: ...
... Default effects are considered as a robust and well-established strategy to influence choice behavior (Jachimowicz et al., 2019), and they provide a powerful intervention for many different applied contexts like prosocial behavior, such as organ donation (Johnson & Goldstein, 2003), blood donation (Stutzer et al., 2011), and research participation (Paunov, Wänke, & Vogel, 2019a, 2019b, but also in consumer behavior, such as the compensation of CO2 emissions (Bruns, Kantorowicz-Reznichenko, Klement, Jonsson, & Rahali, 2018;Székely, Weinmann, & Vom Brocke, 2016) and consumer product choices (Brown & Krishna, 2004). ...
Article
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In the last decade, there has been a growing research focus on the subtle modifications of choice architecture that have strong effects on consumer behavior and are subsumed under the term nudging. There is still little research, however, on how different nudges influence individuals with different personality characteristics. An experimental online shopping scenario is used to test whether a customer's Need for Cognition and Need for Uniqueness moderate the effectiveness of two of the most prominent nudges—defaults and social influence. Two experiments with samples stratified by age, gender, and education (total N = 1,561) reveal that defaults and social influence have the predicted impact on a customer's decision. Across both studies, nudge effectiveness was partially impacted by Need for Cognition and not impacted at all by Need for Uniqueness. These findings imply that both types of nudges are strong and robust techniques to influence consumer decision‐making and are effective across different levels of consumer's Need for Cognition or Need for Uniqueness.
... Actively deciding between different jobs might induce workers to reflect on the characteristics of these jobs. In doing so, workers could form a subjective value for the prosocial job (Stutzer et al., 2011), above and beyond a pure mission effect. Relatedly, Krupka and Weber (2009) provide experimental data that individuals' prosocial behavior increases when their attention is drawn to social norms. ...
... On the other hand, however, such avoidance behavior might not be necessary in the long run for at least two reasons. First, Stutzer et al. (2011) indicate that attributing value to a particular prosocial activity may require introspection, but many people seem to refrain from doing so. If they start working for a prosocial cause, organizational socialization might make it necessary to introspect and altruistic preferences could adapt. ...
Article
The mission of a job affects the type of worker attracted to an organization but may also provide incentives to an existing workforce. We conducted a natural field experiment with 246 short-term workers. We randomly allocated some of these workers to either a prosocial or a commercial job. Our data suggest that the mission of a job has a performance-enhancing motivational impact on particular individuals only, those with a prosocial attitude. However, the mission is very important if it has been actively selected. Those workers who have chosen to contribute to a social cause outperform the ones randomly assigned to the same job by about half a standard deviation. This effect seems to be a universal phenomenon that is not driven by information about the alternative job, the choice itself, or a particular subgroup.
... Some studies used nudges that were difficult to classify, but which are nevertheless worth mentioning. For instance, a study by Stutzer et al. (2011) found that rather than using default settings as a nudge, forcing participants to actively choose (thereby removing the default altogether) might nudge people into prosocial behaviour. Their field experiment found that an active decision intervention increased the blood donations given by participants who had not previously thought of doing so, whilst leaving unchanged the donations of those who had reflected upon such decisions before. ...
... Management Science, Articles in Advance, pp. 1-12, © 2017 INFORMS 2 See, for example, Titmuss (1970), Staw et al. (1980), Kreps (1997), Fehr and Falk (2002), Gneezy and Rustichini (2000b), and Stutzer et al. (2011). 3 Esteves-Sorenson and Broce (2016) provide a nice addition, conducting a field experiment with the within-subjects design, but the activity-cookie tasting and evaluation-was deliberately selected to be intrinsically enjoyable, and the subject pool consisted of students who were willing to do cookie tasting for free. ...
... This might shift the focus to alternative interventions, e.g. active choice, which has been shown to successfully motivate carbon offsetting for bus travels (Kesternich, Roemer, et al., 2019), and blood donations (Stutzer et al., 2011). ...
Preprint
This paper investigates differences between a default, a recommendation, and a mandatory minimum contribution on private provision of a large scale public good (climate protection). Information on the regulator, its interaction with the intervention type, and with pre-intervention intrinsic motivation on voluntary contributions is analyzed. Data are from an online framed field experiment with a sample representative of the German internet using population. Main insights are: neither recommendation nor default close to the pre-intervention average change contributions; identifying the regulator reduces contributions when accompanying the recommendation, but not the default; high contributions are reduced by the default but increased by the mandatory minimum; only the default negatively interacts with high intrinsic motivation; and regulator attributes neither interact with intrinsic motivation, nor with intervention type. The study contributes to the discussion of nudges as public policy instruments by comparing them to alternative interventions and by shedding light source information effects.
... The ambiguity between both historically rooted and epidemic-related mistrust, and participants' feelings of social responsibility and trust in foreign interventions, was also described in other EVD trial settings. [17] Although the context of Guinea and EVD is highly specific, literature on motivating factors for donation of whole blood in low and middle income countries and of plasma in Western countries [12,21,22,[41][42][43][44] reports strong similarities with the Ebola-Tx trial, including the relevance of comprehensive information on trial procedures (e.g. during sensitization) as well as on the destination and use of blood samples, perceived benefits of participation in the form of incentives, and trial staff's attention to psychological well-being. Motivations among Ebola survivors for plasma donation during Ebola-Tx Reasons for participation in medical research in general have been widely documented. ...
Article
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Introduction: During the 2014 Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) epidemic, the Ebola-Tx trial evaluated the use of convalescent plasma (CP) in Guinea. The effectiveness of plasmapheresis trials depends on the recruitment of plasma donors. This paper describes what motivated or deterred EVD survivors to donate CP, providing insights for future plasmapheresis trials and epidemic preparedness. Methods: This qualitative study, part of Ebola-Tx, researched and addressed emergent trial difficulties through interviewing, participant observation and focus group discussions. Sampling was theoretical and retroductive analysis was done in NVivo 10. Results: Willingness or hesitance to participate in plasma donation depended on factors at the interface of pre-existing social dynamics; the impact of the disease and the consequent emergency response including the trial set-up. For volunteers, motivation to donate was mainly related to the feeling of social responsibility inspired by having survived EVD and to positive perceptions of plasmapheresis technology despite still unknown trial outcomes. Conversely, confidentiality concerns when volunteering due to stigmatization of survivors and perceived decrease in vital strength and in antibodies when donating, leading to fears of loss in protection against EVD, were main deterrents. The dynamic (dis)trust in Ebola Response Actors and in other survivors further determined willingness to participate and lead to the emergence/decline of rumours related to blood stealing and treatment effectiveness. Historic inter-ethnic relations in the health care setting further defined volunteering along socio-economic and ethnic lines. Finally, lack of follow-up and of dedicated care further impacted on motivation to volunteer. Conclusions: Ebola-Tx was the first trial to solicit and evaluate blood-product donation as an experimental treatment on a large scale in Sub-Saharan Africa. An effective donation system requires directly engaging with emergent social barriers and providing an effective ethical response, including improved and transparent communication, effective follow-up after donation, assuring confidentiality and determining ethical incentives.
... 10 Stutzer and Goette said that participants who were aware of the need for blood were more likely to donate at the next blood drive than those who did not. 11 Several factors contributed to the revocation and refusal of blood donation by the Moroccan population, in our study we observed that more than 85% of non-donors presented fear of fainting and a reaction to the needle, 68.8% said that no one asked them to donate blood, 82.2% did not trust the health system and 92.9% thought that they will not have the same reward service within hospitals. Several studies have explored the role of adverse effects on donor status and behavior; they have observed that donors who have experienced an adverse event have shown lower rates of return than donors who have not experienced an adverse event. ...
Article
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Introduction: In Morocco, blood donation is voluntary, anonymous, and voluntary. The promotion of blood donation has evolved favorably thanks to strategies based on the creation of a multi-sector promotion system. The transformation of family donors into voluntary donors and the retention of voluntary donors is the major challenge of the national blood transfusion center. Materials and methods: This is an analytical quantitative cross-sectional study on a target population made up of 1000 participants. The collection tool was a self-administered, anonymous questionnaire made up of closed questions concerning the socio-demographic profile of the participants, and their knowledge and attitudes about the blood donation operation as well as their motivation and limitations of the donation. The responses were collected and entered by a team of graduate students in sociology. Data were analyzed by SPSS 20 software. Results: Among the 953 participants, their mean age (Standard Deviation) is 32.56 (12.993) years, with 63.4% of the participants under the age of 34 (n = 429). For data relating to blood donation, 69.3% of the participants thought they did not know the blood group (n = 660), more than 70% thought of the existence of the illegal sale of blood in Morocco (n = 668). 69.3% of the participants think they do not know the blood type (n = 660), more than 70%, though of the existence of the illegal sale of blood in Morocco (n = 668), 70.8% do not know someone who has had or require an organ or tissue transplant (n = 479). Conclusion: The need for blood is sharply increasing. an enormous shortage hence the need for epidemiological study to highlight the various difficulties that hamper the promotion of blood donation. Keywords: Blood, transfusion, Blood donation, Promoting blood donation, Faithful donor, Morocco
... Nevertheless, it is valuable to find out, and is new to the research community, that default nudges seem to be more effective than any other nudge category (see Table 7). This can be explained by the status quo bias (Samuelson and Zeckhauser, 1988) Fellner, Sausgruber and Traxler, 2013) or personality (Stutzer, Goette and Zehnder, 2011;Jung and Mellers, 2016). For example, Stutzer, Goette and Zehnder (2011) measure the Big Five personality traits and find that conscientiousness might explain some of the differences in blood donation behavior when using defaults. ...
Article
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Changes in the choice architecture, so-called nudges, have been employed in a variety of contexts to alter people's behavior. Although nudging has gained a widespread popularity, the effect sizes of its influences vary considerably across studies. In addition, nudges have proven to be ineffective or even backfire in selected studies which raises the question whether, and under which conditions, nudges are effective. Therefore, we conduct a quantitative review on nudging with 100 primary publications including 317 effect sizes from different research areas. We derive four key results. (1) A morphological box on nudging based on eight dimensions, (2) an assessment of the effectiveness of different nudging interventions, (3) a categorization of the relative importance of the application context and the nudge category, and (4) a comparison of nudging and digital nudging. Thereby, we shed light on the (in)effectiveness of nudging and we show how the findings of the past can be used for future research. Practitioners, especially government officials, can use the results to review and adjust their policy making.
... Although a differentiated marketing approach targeting Highly Active donors only may not be an effective strategy [28], the results suggest ensuring that this group is engaged when planning donor engagement strategies is important. Tools that have been shown to be effective in the literature at temporarily increasing donations without compromising the safety of blood include small gifts, newspaper recognition and active decision-making for those that present to donate [29][30][31][32][33][34][35]. Campaigns aimed at increasing awareness around the importance of blood donation could also be an important tool for encouraging donation. ...
Article
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Background and objectives: The availability of blood and blood products is crucial for the provision of high-quality hospital services. We analyse changes in whole blood donations, donors and their behaviour over 9 years at a large German teaching hospital. Materials and methods: A descriptive analysis using data from over 34 000 donors and 265 000 donations from a large university hospital's blood centre was conducted using data from July 2008 to December 2017. The analysis focussed on (a) whole blood donations and (b) donor characteristics and how they changed over time. We categorized donors into four categories according to their donation activity (First-Time, Highly Active, Active and Reactivated). Results: We observed falling donations over time and that donors donated less frequently. Consequently, we show a downward trend in the number of Highly Active donors, whilst First-Time donors remained stable. We also provide evidence that donors donated well below their capacity and that the blood type of donors appeared to be in line with the wider German donor population. Lastly, we show a sharp drop in the return rates of First-Time donors over time. Conclusion: We recommend that Highly Active donors and former Highly Active donors are more carefully considered when planning donor engagement strategies and effort made in (at the very least) maintaining their donation activity. Our results in the context of the literature highlight the need for further research into the changing attitudes towards blood donation and prosocial activities.
... Some existing nudges already have an element of self-reflection, which could be enhanced in a program of nudge plus. A commitment device, for example, is based on the idea that a precommitment default keeps people to a desired course of behavior (Thaler & Shefrin, 1981); yet, it also ensures that the individual has some autonomy and space to think through what is involved, which precedes the signature of the contract (Stutzer et al., 2011). Reflection also appears in Sunstein's advocacy of educative nudges and contrasts between system 1 and system 2 nudges (Sunstein, 2016a;Sunstein & Reisch, 2019), leading to work on transparent nudges (Hansen & Jespersen, 2013) and deliberation tools, such as cooling-off periods (Yeung, 2012). ...
Article
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We outline a modified version of behaviour change called nudge plus, which incorporates an element of reflection as part of the delivery of a nudge. Nudge plus builds on recent work advocating educative nudges and boosts. Its argument turns on seminal work on dual systems that presents a more subtle relationship between fast and slow thinking than is commonly assumed in the classic literature in behavioural public policy. Our claim is that a hybrid nudge-think strategy can be a useful additional way to design pro-social interventions. We review classic and recent work on dual systems to show that a hybrid dual process account is more plausible than the default interventionist or parallel competitive framework. We put forward a way to operationalise nudge plus and set out what reflection could embody. We compare nudge, nudge plus, and boost, and draw testable implications.
... Aknin, Norton, & Dunn, 2009;Choi, 2009;Dennis, Buchholtz, & Butts, 2009;Sargeant & Woodliffe, 2007;Stutzer, Goette, & Zehnder, 2011;Williams, West, & Klak, 2011)。尽管经济学家们也试图将社会心理学中的 Bekkers 等人对 500 多篇慈善捐款实证研究所做的综述(Bekkers & Wiepking, 2011)。他们以慈善捐款行为 ...
... Also, people experience (or anticipate) more regret when they feel responsible for their decisions (Ordóñez & Connolly, 2000;Zeelenberg et al., 1998) (Stutzer et al., 2011) and to significantly improve adherence to medication (Keller et al., 2011). ...
Article
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Saving for retirement is one of the most important financial matters people face during their lives. Whereas the Dutch, on average, accumulate sufficient retirement wealth, quite a few people will end up with lower savings than they expect or need. It is surprising that many people remain inactive even when action is needed. This paper by Job Krijnen, Marcel Zeelenberg and Seger Breugelmans (all TiU) addresses two questions about inertia. First, what reasons can explain people's inertia in retirement saving? Second, how can our understanding of these reasons contribute to current and future developments in the Dutch retirement system?
... First, the point in time of stating the willingness to give is different from the point in time of the decision to actually donate. In case of whole blood (and plasma), for example, the donation takes place immediately after the registration and a health check (e.g., Wildman and Hollingsworth, 2009;Stutzer et al., 2011;Lacetera et al., 2012;Slonim et al., 2014;Goette and Stutzer, 2020). Second, for stem cell donations, it is not uncommon that several years lie between registration and a first CT request. ...
... As an example, consider the prosocial act of donating blood 34 . One recipient's use of blood decreases that of another, so blood is a rival good. ...
Article
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Prosocial behaviours are encountered in the donation game, the prisoner’s dilemma, relaxed social dilemmas and public goods games. Many studies assume that the population structure is homogeneous, meaning that all individuals have the same number of interaction partners or that the social good is of one particular type. Here, we explore general evolutionary dynamics for arbitrary spatial structures and social goods. We find that heterogeneous networks, in which some individuals have many more interaction partners than others, can enhance the evolution of prosocial behaviours. However, they often accumulate most of the benefits in the hands of a few highly connected individuals, while many others receive low or negative payoff. Surprisingly, selection can favour producers of social goods even if the total costs exceed the total benefits. In summary, heterogeneous structures have the ability to strongly promote the emergence of prosocial behaviours, but they also create the possibility of generating large inequality. Prosocial behaviours are ubiquitous in nature. These building blocks of cooperative societies can come in many forms, depending on how the underlying social good is produced and distributed. In this study, the authors show that heterogeneous populations can strongly promote the evolution of prosocial behaviours. However, this efficient evolution reveals a thorny side of prosocial behaviours: they generate the possibility of widespread wealth inequality, even to the point of being a detriment to the poorest in the population. The authors provide a general framework that can be used to understand when this harmful prosociality will emerge in a population. These findings suggest that institutional interventions are often essential for maintaining equitable outcomes in heterogeneous societies.
... Some of these experiments do not involve the use of economic games, but many do (e.g., Fehr and Rockenbach 2003). Other experiments are not lab based but take place "in the field" (e.g., Stutzer et al. 2011) and may be done in cooperation with a government or other policy-making organization (e.g., United Kingdom Office of Fair Trading 2010). Often, the results of such lab and field experiments end up being published in academic or peerreviewed journals. ...
... Our findings can be related to the recent strand of literature analyzing the passive behavior of individuals (e.g., Altmann et al., 2019;Carroll et al., 2009;Stutzer et al., 2011). In our context, passive behavior of students is not answering the question and an active behavior is answering the question. ...
Article
This paper analyzes whether manipulating the grading scheme affects students’ test performance. Students aged 9 to 10 years are randomly assigned to three experimental conditions: gain framing of points (Control), gain framing with a negative endowment of points (Negative), and loss framing of points (Loss). Students in the Loss Treatment put more effort into the test, i.e., they answer more questions without decreasing the probability of a correct answer conditional on answering the question. Moreover, we find heterogeneous effects of grade framing by ability. Low-ability students in the Loss Treatment significantly decrease their performance while we find no significant effect for low-ability students in the Negative Treatment. In contrast, both treatments increase test performance of high-ability students.
... However, Davidai et al. did not evaluate the meaning which people attach to a mandated choice. Research by Stutzer et al. (2011) sheds some light on the issue. By means of an experiment for the case of blood donation they show why active choice can induce pro-social behavior, i.e. behavior contributing to a common good. ...
Article
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The ability of patients in many parts of the world to benefit from transplantation is limited by growing shortages of transplantable organs. The choice architecture of donation systems is said to play a pivotal role in explaining this gap. In this paper we examine the question how different defaults affect the decision to register as organ donor. Three defaults in organ donation systems are compared: mandated choice, presumed consent and explicit consent. Hypothetical choices from a national survey of 2069 respondents in May 2011 in the Netherlands e a country with an explicit consent system e suggests that mandated choice and presumed consent are more effective at generating registered donors than explicit consent.
... In their review, Godin et al. (2012) classified non-incentive interventions into four types: social interventions that manipulate altruism and egoism, reminders, foot-in-the-door or door-in-the-face techniques, and intention activation. Most of these interventions are implemented through the provision of social information, including descriptions of social impact (Moussaoui et al., 2019;Goette and Tripodi, 2020); comparisons with social norms (Xie et al., 2019); modeling (Rushton and Campbell, 1977); descriptions of a current blood shortage (Sun et al., 2016(Sun et al., , 2019; registry invitations (Heger et al., 2020); or questionnaires asking donors to specify their donation intention to activate cognitions about blood donation (Stutzer et al., 2011). However, evidence related to the efficacy of these information interventions is mixed. ...
Article
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The positive effect of social information on nudging prosocial behavior is context dependent. Understanding how sensitive intervention outcomes are to changes in the choice context is essential for policy design, especially in times of great uncertainty, such as the current COVID-19 pandemic. The present paper explores the effectiveness of social information in changing voluntary blood donation intention in two contexts: before and after the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic in China. In addition to the dimension of context, information content and its source are also important. Using a survey administered to 1,116 participants, we conducted an intertemporal randomized-controlled experiment to systematically analyze how information can effectively nudge the intention to donate blood. Compared with content featuring blood donors' commendation information, blood users' demand information is found to have a stronger nudging effect. An official information source has a greater influence on participants' donation intention than an unofficial source. Furthermore, our analysis of two waves of experimental data (i.e., before and after the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic) shows that the COVID-19 pandemic has further enhanced the nudging effect of blood users' demand information and official information sources. These findings provide a theoretical basis and policy recommendations for relevant institutions to develop effective blood donation campaign strategies.
... However, Davidai et al. did not evaluate the meaning which people attach to a mandated choice. Research by Stutzer et al. (2011) sheds some light on the issue. By means of an experiment for the case of blood donation they show why active choice can induce pro-social behavior, i.e. behavior contributing to a common good. ...
Article
Full-text available
The ability of patients in many parts of the world to benefit from transplantation is limited by growing shortages of transplantable organs. The choice architecture of donation systems is said to play a pivotal role in explaining this gap. In this paper we examine the question how different defaults affect the decision to register as organ donor. Three defaults in organ donation systems are compared: mandated choice, presumed consent and explicit consent. Hypothetical choices from a national survey of 2,069 respondents in May 2011 in the Netherlands - a country with an explicit consent system - suggests that mandated choice and presumed consent are more effective at generating registered donors than explicit consent.
... Some existing nudges already have an element of self-reflection, which could be enhanced in a program of nudge plus. A commitment device, for example, is based on the idea that a precommitment default keeps people to a desired course of behavior (Thaler & Shefrin, 1981); yet, it also ensures that the individual has some autonomy and space to think through what is involved, which precedes the signature of the contract (Stutzer et al., 2011). Reflection also appears in Sunstein's advocacy of educative nudges and contrasts between system 1 and system 2 nudges (Sunstein, 2016a;Sunstein & Reisch, 2019), leading to work on transparent nudges (Hansen & Jespersen, 2013) and deliberation tools, such as cooling-off periods (Yeung, 2012). ...
Article
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Nudge plus is a modification of the toolkit of behavioral public policy. It incorporates an element of reflection – the plus – into the delivery of a nudge, either blended in or made proximate. Nudge plus builds on recent work combining heuristics and deliberation. It may be used to design prosocial interventions that help preserve the autonomy of the agent. The argument turns on seminal work on dual systems, which presents a subtler relationship between fast and slow thinking than commonly assumed in the classic literature in behavioral public policy. We review classic and recent work on dual processes to show that a hybrid is more plausible than the default-interventionist or parallel-competitive framework. We define nudge plus, set out what reflection could entail, provide examples, outline causal mechanisms, and draw testable implications.
... The defaults that nonprofit organizations use and the suggestions they make about potential contributions strongly affect individual giving [56][57][58][59][60][61][62][63][64] . Another external factor is the price of giving [65]. ...
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Why do citizens in some countries take more responsibility for the well-being of others than in other countries? This project seeks to understand the genesis of prosociality, investigating its biological foundations, the influence of cultural traditions, and effects of political, economic and legal structure. The dominant theory in economics views philanthropy as a solution to social illnesses that the market and the state are not solving, a view complementary to political science theory on preferences for government provision. Sociologists focus on social norms emerging from religious traditions. Cultural evolutionary theory highlights the instrumental value of trust. Still other theories have suggested a role for natural selection of genes. However, these theories have not been tested stringently nor simultaneously. Also the project includes a very important factor largely ignored thus far: political, legal and economic institutions also affect the level of giving as well as who gives to which causes. Therefore, the objectives of Global Giving are (1) to map country differences in the size and nature of philanthropy across the world; (2) to develop and test multidisciplinary theories explaining these differences; (3) to facilitate international collaboration across disciplinary boundaries in research on philanthropy. The research draws upon 200 surveys recently harmonized by the PI and on new data on philanthropy to be collected among large samples in 145 countries across all continents. Collaboration with international networks of academics safeguards the validity of the questionnaires and experiments. Appropriate multilevel regression models will be used, the lack of which caused biases in previous research. An integrated understanding of philanthropy is useful not only for theory development, but also for government policy makers and practitioners in nonprofit organizations seeking to mobilize philanthropic contributions and make them more effective. The application in practice is ensured through collaboration with a large network of practitioners.
... Goette, Stutzer, tion (newspaper recognition) among all donors in an Italian town. Goette, Stutzer, and Zehnder (2011), examining 1,838 students, fi nd that requiring people to say and Zehnder (2011) ...
Article
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Donating blood, “the gift of life,” is among the noblest activities and it is performed worldwide nearly 100 million times annually. The economic perspective presented here shows how the gift of life, albeit noble and often motivated by altruism, is heavily influenced by standard economic forces including supply and demand, economies of scale, and moral hazard. These forces, shaped by technological advances, have driven the evolution of blood donation markets from thin one-to-one “marriage markets,” in which each recipient needed a personal blood donor, to thick, impersonalized, diffuse markets. Today, imbalances between aggregate supply and demand are a major challenge in blood markets, including excess supply after disasters and insufficient supply at other times. These imbalances are not unexpected given that the blood market operates without market prices and with limited storage length (about six weeks) for whole blood. Yet shifting to a system of paying blood donors seems a practical impossibility given attitudes toward paying blood donors and concerns that a paid system could compromise blood safety. Nonetheless, we believe that an economic perspective offers promising directions to increase supply and improve the supply and demand balance even in the presence of volunteer supply and with the absence of market prices.
... First, deliberate decisions tend to be less generous and cooperative than automatic decisions (e.g., Rand, 2016;Rand et al., 2012;Zaki & Mitchell, 2013), suggesting that deliberate helping may be in greater need of attention. Second, research shows that conscious reflection can shift everyday helping (e.g., how much, if any, to give to charity; e.g., Stutzer et al., 2011), and, as discussed later, affect automatic decision and behavior over time. Given that implicit and internalized gender stereotypes can guide behavior outside conscious awareness (e.g., Baron et al., 2014) in ways that are likely to inhibit gender-inconsistent helping, we posit that deliberate interventions could alter this behavior. ...
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Prosociality is an ideal context to begin shifting traditional gender role stereotypes and promoting equality. Men and women both help others frequently, but assistance often follows traditional gender role expectations, which further reinforces restrictive gender stereotypes in other domains. We propose an integrative process model of gender roles inhibiting prosociality (GRIP) to explain why and how this occurs. We argue that prosociality provides a unique entry point for change because it is (a) immediately rewarding (which cultivates positive attitude formation), (b) less likely to threaten the gender status hierarchy, and therefore less susceptible to social backlash (which translates into less restrictive social norms), and (c) a skill that can be learned (which leads to stronger beliefs in one’s own ability to help). Using the GRIP model, we derive a series of hypothesized interventions to interrupt the self-reinforcing cycle of gender role stereotyping and facilitate progress toward broader gender equality.
... No differences in levels of susceptibility to social influence between donors and nondonors appeared in one study (Griffin, Grace, & O'Cass, 2014). Among participants who were aware of the need for blood, those who were asked to give blood were more likely to donate in the upcoming blood drive than those who were not asked to make an active decision (Stutzer, Goette, & Zehnder, 2011). ...
... This latter claim is not particularly surprising since, as we suggest above, the use of an active-choice frame largely eliminates or masks the use of a default rule. More specifically, researchers have found that active-choice frames function to induce people to consider, reflect on, and formulate an answer to, the question at hand (Stutzer, Goette, and Zehnder 2011). This is particularly important since one of the chief explanations of the effect of status quo bias with respect to organ donor registration is likely to be inertia: People in the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) would simply rather not consider the question of organ donor registration and so stick with the default option. ...
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If any group of American blue-collar workers has benefited from the growth of trade it is the unionized dockworkers along the US West Coast. Nevertheless, the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) representing these workers is vocally opposed to trade liberalization. We examine several competing explanations for this puzzle and evaluate them by tracing the union's stance on trade over several decades. We also use an original survey to compare ILWU affiliates' attitudes on trade with those of nonmembers with otherwise similar characteristics. Consistent with a model of organizational socialization, the data support the hypothesis that ILWU membership affects the members' revealed political opinions; the data are difficult to reconcile with standard theories of international trade. Our findings indicate that the political support for trade depends not just on voters' structural positions in the economy but also on the organizations and networks in which they are embedded.
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Do patients really act rationally in health related situations? Health care policies are traditionally integrated in different forms of regulation and paternalism. With regard to health care, it is useful to distinguish three somewhat different categories of individual choices: lifestyle, risk modification and illness treatment. All these categories are relevant for describing health and also describe the strategies prevention could really use. Health economic strategies consider these peculiarities of health by implementing some theoretical models that try to outline the choice-based decisions in health. The Grossman-Model supplies a working-tool for health politics, especially for embedding market and non-market strategies. Taking insights from behavioral economics as an expansion of the traditional Grossman-Model prevention policies could benefit from a broader perspective of understanding health related behavior.
Chapter
This is the protocol for a review and there is no abstract. The objectives are as follows: To assess the safety, effectiveness and cost of incentive-based and non-incentive-based interventions for increasing blood donation. We are particularly interested in the following comparisons: Monetary versus non-monetary incentives. Monetary incentives versus non-incentive based interventions. Monetary incentives, non-monetary incentives and non-incentive-based interventions versus current practice.
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We conducted a field experiment with the American Red Cross (ARC) to study the effects of economic incentives on volunteer activities. The experiment was designed to assess local and short-term effects as well as spatial and temporal substitution, heterogeneity, and spillovers. Subjects offered $5, $10, and $15 gift cards to give blood were more likely to donate and more so for the higher reward values. The incentives also led to spatial displacement and a short-term shift in the timing of donation activity, but they had no long-term effects. Many of the effects were also heterogeneous in the population. We also detected a spillover effect whereby informing some individuals of rewards through official ARC channels led others who were not officially informed to be more likely to donate. Thus, the effect of incentives on prosocial behavior includes not only the immediate local effects but also spatial displacement, social spillovers, and dramatic heterogeneity. We discuss the implications of these findings for organizations with activities that rely on volunteers for the supply of key inputs or products as well as for government agencies and public policy.
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We study the introduction of new technologies when their costs are subject to idiosyncratic uncertainty and can only be fully learned through individual experience. We set up a dynamic model of clean experience goods that replace old polluting consumption options and show how optimal regulation evolves over time. In our base setting where social and private learning incentives coincide, the optimal tax of the polluting consumption is increasing over time. However, if social and private learning incentives diverge, we show that it will be optimal to temporarily increase the tax rate beyond net marginal external damages to induce optimal learning, before reducing the tax rate to the steady-state level. Alternatively, one needs to complement the tax by subsidies for first-time users which will be phased out over time. Similar results apply if consumers have biased expectations. We therefore give a rationale for introductory subsidies of new, clean technologies and non-monotonic tax paths from a perspective of consumer learning.
Thesis
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The purpose of this thesis is to examine the impact of financial incentives to promote health behaviour change. Financial incentives include tangible rewards as cash, vouchers and lotteries that are offered to individuals conditional to the fulfilment of health guidelines. Despite the growing use of such patient incentives in practice, some fundamental questions are yet to be answered: (1) Are financial incentives effective? (2) What type and size of incentive is more effective? (3) Do patient income and past health behaviour moderate the impact of incentives? These questions are analysed in the context of (a) blood donation and (b) compliance with health care including adherence to treatment, disease screening, immunisation and appointment keeping. Behavioural economics, in particular prospect theory, provide the theoretical foundations for this work and substantiate my hypotheses about the effect of financial incentives. I perform the first meta-analyses in the literature to quantify the impact of patient financial incentives to promote blood donation (chapter 3) and compliance (chapter 4). These results show that financial incentives do not promote blood donation but increase compliance with health care, particularly for low income patients. Two large field studies were developed to further examine the effect of incentives in compliance - testing pioneer incentive schemes. I test the impact of a certain (£5 voucher) versus uncertain (£200 lottery) incentive framed either as a gain or loss to promote Chlamydia screening (chapter 5). I also develop the first study ever testing preferences for sequences of events in the field – using the naturalistic setting of colorectal cancer. This study compared the effect of a €10 incentive offered at the end of screening versus two €5 incentives offered at the beginning and end of screening (chapter 6). The former showed the voucher framed as a gain was the most effective incentive and the latter showed that smaller two €5 incentives increase screening more than a single €10 incentive (which had a detrimental effect compared to no incentive). I fundamentally contribute to the literature by showing that (i) patient financial incentives do not increase the quantity of blood donations and may have an adverse effect on quality, providing empirical evidence to a long-standing policy debate. Furthermore (ii) small certain rewards around £5 are likely to be the optimal incentive for compliance with health care, (iii) higher incentives may be more effective if offered as smaller segregated incentives of the same amount and (iv) incentives have over twice the impact on low income patients than on more affluent patients.
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We study extrinsic and intrinsic motivations for tax compliance in the context of a local church tax in Germany. This tax system has historically relied on zero deterrence so that any compliance at baseline is intrinsically motivated. Starting from this zero deterrence baseline, we implement a field experiment that incentivized compliance through deterrence or rewards. Using administrative records of taxes paid and true tax liabilities, we use these treatments to document that intrinsically motivated compliance is substantial, that a significant fraction of it may be driven by duty-to-comply preferences, and that there is no crowd-out between extrinsic and intrinsic motivations.
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Shortage is common in many markets, such as those for human organs or blood, but the problem is often difficult to solve through price adjustment, given safety and ethical concerns. In this paper, we study two non-price methods that are often used to alleviate shortage for human blood. The first method is informing existing donors of a current shortage via a mobile message and encouraging them to donate voluntarily. The second method is asking the patient's family or friends to donate in a family replacement (FR) program at the time of shortage. Using 447,357 individual donation records across 8 years from a large Chinese blood bank, we show that both methods are effective in addressing blood shortage in the short run but have different implications for total blood supply in the long run. We compare the efficacy of these methods and discuss their applications under different scenarios to alleviate shortage.
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 This research aims to determine whether there are differences in prosocial behavior of students who are active in student activities unit art, Islamic spirituality and nature lovers and whether there are differences in prosocial behavior of male and female students at the University of 45 Surabaya. From the the 90 respondents, consisting of 45 male and 45 female, it is obtained the following result : The mean of prosocial behavior does not differ between students who are active in student activities unit art, Islamic spirituality and nature lovers (p > 0,05, not significant), the hypothesis is not accepted. The mean of prosocial behavior of students does not differ between those who are active in unit activities of Islamic spirituality and art, the mean of prosocial behavior of students who are active in unit activities of art and nature lovers are not different. Similarly, there is no difference in the mean of prosocial behavior of students who are active in unit activities of Islamic spirituality and nature lovers (p > 0,05, not significant). Hypothesis is not accepted. The other result shows that the mean of prosocial behavior looks very significant differences between male and female students (p < 0,01, not significant). Hypothesis is accepted. Mean of prosocial on female students’ behavior is higher than the mean of pro-social behavior of male students. Key words :  Prosocial behavior, student activities  Â
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Background: The ageing population and recent migration flows may negatively affect the blood supply in the long term, increasing the importance of targeted recruitment and retention strategies to address donors. This review sought to identify individual, network and contextual characteristics related to blood donor status and behaviour, to systematically discuss differences between study results, and to identify possible factors to target in recruitment and retention efforts. Methods: The systematic review was conducted in accordance with a predefined PROSPERO protocol (CRD42016039591). After quality assessments by multiple independent raters, a final set of 66 peer-reviewed papers, published between October 2009 and January 2017, were included for review. Results: Individual and contextual characteristics of blood donor status and behaviour were categorised into five main lines of research: donor demographics, motivations and barriers, adverse reactions and deferral, contextual factors, and blood centre factors. Results on donor demographics, motivations and barriers, and contextual factors were inconclusive, differing between studies, countries, and sample characteristics. Adverse reactions and deferral were negatively related to blood donor behaviour. Blood centre factors play an important role in donor management, e.g., providing information, reminders, and (non-)monetary rewards. No studies were found on network characteristics of (non-)donors. Discussion: Although individual and contextual characteristics strongly relate to blood donor status and behaviour, mechanisms underlying these relations have not been studied sufficiently. We want to stress the importance of longitudinal studies in donor behaviour, exploring the role of life events and network characteristics within blood donor careers. Increased understanding of donor behaviour will assist policy makers of blood collection agencies, with the ultimate goal of safeguarding a sufficient and matching blood supply.
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Using field experiments, scholars can identify causal effects via randomization while studying people and groups in their naturally occurring contexts. In light of renewed interest in field experimental methods, this review covers a wide range of field experiments from across the social sciences, with an eye to those that adopt virtuous practices, including unobtrusive measurement, naturalistic interventions, attention to realistic outcomes and consequential behaviors, and application to diverse samples and settings. The review covers four broad research areas of substantive and policy interest: first, randomized controlled trials, with a focus on policy interventions in economic development, poverty reduction, and education; second, experiments on the role that norms, motivations, and incentives play in shaping behavior; third, experiments on political mobilization, social influence, and institutional effects; and fourth, experiments on prejudice and discrimination. We discuss methodological issues concerning generalizability and scalability as well as ethical issues related to field experimental methods.Weconclude by arguing that field experiments are well equipped to advance the kind of middle-range theorizing that sociologists value. Expected final online publication date for the Annual Review of Sociology Volume 43 is July 30, 2017. Please see http://www.annualreviews.org/page/journal/pubdates for revised estimates.
Chapter
One strategy that has been implemented in numerous nations, particularly in the European Union, to try to increase the availability of transplantable organs is to legislatively change the default option for organ donation from one that is opt-in to one that is opt-out. In an opt-in system, an individual is required to unambiguously consent for organ donation, usually by signing and by carrying an organ donor card, for his organs to be harvested upon his death. In contrast, in an opt-out system, a person is required to unambiguously reject organ donation to prevent his organs from being procured for transplantation upon his death. This change in social policy cannot be justified, because the requirement for informed consent is an integral element of the Catholic Church’s teaching on the morality of organ donation and transplantation for at least three non-negotiable reasons. First, informed consent respects the essential formality of the donated organ as a gift that one person gives to another in an act of charity. Next, informed consent prior to organ donation allows the donor to intend a friendship of virtue with the organ recipient, even in cases where he will not live to meet his friend. These friendships sustain the common good. Finally, informed consent affirms and protects the intrinsic dignity and inviolability of the human organ donor who alone is able to give himself away to another person through the materiality of his body.
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Home-delivered prescriptions have no delivery charge and lower copayments than prescriptions picked up at a pharmacy. Nevertheless, when home delivery is offered on an opt-in basis, the take-up rate is only 6%. We study a program that makes active choice of either home delivery or pharmacy pick-up a requirement for insurance eligibility. The program introduces an implicit default for those who don't make an active choice: pharmacy pick-up without insurance subsidies. Under this program, 42% of eligible employees actively choose home delivery, 39% actively choose pharmacy pick-up, and 19% make no active choice and are assigned the implicit default. Individuals who financially benefit most from home delivery are more likely to choose it. Those who benefit least from insurance subsidies are more likely to make no active choice and lose those subsidies. The implicit default incentivizes people to make an active choice, thereby playing a key role in choice architecture.
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We investigate how the introduction of an Active Choice requirement influences subject proclivity to contribute to an impure public good in one time and repeated interactions. In a large-scale field experiment, we analyze more than 10000 contribution decisions to a carbon offsetting program in the context of online ticket sales for long-distance buses. We find that the simple requirement of an Active Choice – which circumvents the ethical issues posed by an opt-out design – not only increases participation rates by almost 50% in a first booking decision, but also boosts participation in subsequent bookings. At the same time, the introduction of Active Choice does not induce a substantial decline in returning customer rates. Our data support the theoretical assumption that anticipated guilt is a causal mechanism by which Active Choice induces higher contribution rates, as the opportunity for “choice avoidance” that is inherent to opt-in settings may help subjects circumvent feelings of guilt that would otherwise result from explicit free-riding.
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Using data from 21 voluntary blood drives over a five-year period, we establish connections between undergraduate students’ blood donation behaviors and their demographic, academic, leadership, and military characteristics at a military college in the U.S. We find that blood donation participation rates for students at this military college are much higher than the national average for the 18 to 24-year-olds. Certain characteristics such as fitness, NCAA status, academic performance, and intent to pursue a military career after graduation are significantly correlated with blood donation. We also find that college students’ blood donation behaviors may be influenced by their attitudes toward civic responsibility, time constraints, incentives, peer effects and the characteristics of blood collection agencies. This study provides new insights into individual characteristics that correlate with blood donation. It also highlights the role of unique military education and institutional characteristics in promoting better fitness, the pursuit of a military career, and selfless service among young people, all of which might help explain demonstrated higher blood donation participation than their peers elsewhere.
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There is a longstanding concern that material rewards might undermine pro-social motivations, thereby leading to a decrease in blood donations. This paper provides an empirical test of how material rewards affect blood donations in a three-month large-scale field experiment and a fifteen-month follow-up period, involving more than 10,000 previous donors. We examine the efficacy of a lottery ticket as a reward vis-à-vis a standard invitation, an appeal, and a free cholesterol test. The offer of a lottery ticket, on average, increases the probability to donate blood during the experiment by 5.6 percentage points over a baseline donation rate of 46%. We find that this effect is driven by less motivated donors. Moreover, no reduction in donations is observed after the experiment.
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Research on pro-social behaviours has mainly concentrated on individually-tailored interventions, such as Get Out the Vote (GOTV) campaigns, rather than collective arenas where information and messages are experienced jointly. Citizenship ceremonies, in which new UK citizens are required to participate, provide a timely and unique opportunity to promote civil behaviours in a group context. The research for this paper, based on a quasi-experiment comparing ceremonies within London local authorities, tests whether providing volunteering opportunities and incorporating behavioural science interventions into the design of the ceremonies increase voter registration, volunteering, and blood donation intentions. Survey results show that providing volunteering opportunities generates an interest in registering to volunteer and donating blood, while the addition of behavioural interventions boosts intention to volunteer and registering to vote, with statistically significant effects of the behavioural interventions on the summed outcome measure. The research findings are a promising foundation for further tests using randomised controlled trials.
Conference Paper
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The design of user interfaces has seen an increasing use of digital nudging principles in recent years. Research has shown many nudging principles, like defaults or social norms, to be effective in persuasive systems. So far though, little research has focused on the user's personality and its influence on the efficacy of such nudges. This paper investigates the influence of an individual's need for cognition on the effectiveness of a digital social norms nudge. The experimental design operationalized an information research task for further education offerings. The results indicate that users with a higher need for cognition are 29.1% less likely to select the nudged option. This result aligns with theoretical findings but contrasts another study within the purchase stage of a customer journey that did not find significant moderation effects. It demonstrates the need for a careful consideration of users' personality traits when using digital nudges in persuasive systems.
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We use a field experiment to study how social image concerns affect a commonly used strategy to attract new donors: pledges to engage in a charitable activity. While waiting for their appointment, visitors to a local government office are offered sign-ups for blood donations in a crowded waiting room. We randomly vary the visibility of the pledge to donate and the organization for which blood donations are solicited (charitable vs. commercial). Our setting provides natural variation in who observes the pledge. We do not find that visibility increases pledges to donate. Exploring heterogeneity in treatment effects, we find that visibility increases pledges when participants are observed by friends or family. Almost all subjects renege on their pledge.
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The issue of the nature of the altruism inherent in blood donation and the perverse effects of financial rewards for blood giving has been recently revisited in the economic literature with limited consensus. As Titmuss (1970) famously pointed out, providing monetary incentives to blood donors may crowd out blood supply as purely altruistic donors may feel less inclined to donate. In this paper we examine how favouring different types of incentives is related to the likelihood of donating blood by exploiting a large sample representative of the population of fifteen European countries that contains information on both donation and attitudes towards incentives. Our results show that those who favour monetary rewards for blood donation are less likely to be donors and those who favour non-monetary rewards are more likely to have donated. This is consistent with the idea that while monetary rewards may crowd out blood donation, non-monetary rewards do not.
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In this paper we study the effect of social influence in the voluntary provision of public goods in two field experiments. In the first field experiment we demonstrate the existence of a social influence effect on individual contributions. We explore the effectiveness of different levels of social information, and find the most influential to be information drawn from the 90th to 95th percentile of previous contributions. In our experiment, social influence increases contributions on average 12% ($13) for all donors in the most effective condition. Further, these increased contributions do not crowd out future contributions. In our second field experiment we demonstrate the boundary conditions of the effect. The results highlight the social cause of our results rather than an alternative cognitive cause (anchoring-and-adjustment or reference points).
Book
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Every day, we make decisions on topics ranging from personal investments to schools for our children to the meals we eat to the causes we champion. Unfortunately, we often choose poorly. The reason, the authors explain, is that, being human, we all are susceptible to various biases that can lead us to blunder. Our mistakes make us poorer and less healthy; we often make bad decisions involving education, personal finance, health care, mortgages and credit cards, the family, and even the planet itself. Thaler and Sunstein invite us to enter an alternative world, one that takes our humanness as a given. They show that by knowing how people think, we can design choice environments that make it easier for people to choose what is best for themselves, their families, and their society. Using colorful examples from the most important aspects of life, Thaler and Sunstein demonstrate how thoughtful "choice architecture" can be established to nudge us in beneficial directions without restricting freedom of choice. Nudge offers a unique new take-from neither the left nor the right-on many hot-button issues, for individuals and governments alike. This is one of the most engaging and provocative books to come along in many years. © 2008 by Richard H. Thaler and Cass R. Sunstein. All rights reserved.
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Recent evidence suggests that the default options implicit in economic choices (e.g., 401(k) savings by white-collar workers) have extraordinarily large effects on decision-making. This study presents a field experiment that evaluates the effect of defaults on savings among a highly policy-relevant population: low-income tax filers. In the control condition, tax filers could choose (i.e., opt in) to receive some of their federal tax refund in the form of U.S. Savings Bonds. In the treatment condition, a fraction of the tax refund was automatically directed to U.S. Savings Bonds unless tax filers actively chose another allocation. We find that the opt-out default had no impact on savings behavior. Furthermore, our treatment estimate is sufficiently precise to reject effects as small as one-fifth of the participation effects found in the 401(k) literature. Ancillary evidence suggests that this "nudge" was ineffective in part because the low-income tax filers in our study had targeted plans to spend their refunds. These results suggest that choice architecture based on defaults may be less effective in certain policy-relevant settings, particularly where intentions are strong.Institutional subscribers to the NBER working paper series, and residents of developing countries may download this paper without additional charge at www.nber.org.
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There is strong evidence that people exploit their bargaining power in competitive markets but not in bilateral bargaining situations. There is also strong evidence that people exploit free-riding opportunities in voluntary cooperation games. Yet, when they are given the opportunity to punish free riders, stable cooperation is maintained, although punishment is costly for those who punish. This paper asks whether there is a simple common principle that can explain this puzzling evidence. We show that if some people care about equity the puzzles can be resolved. It turns out that the economic environment determines whether the fair types or the selfish types dominate equilibrium behavior.
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We examine how economic incentives affect pro-social behavior through the analysis of a unique dataset with information on more than 14,000 American Red Cross blood drives. Our findings are consistent with blood donors responding to incentives in a "standard" way; offering donors economic incentives significantly increases turnout and blood units collected, and more so the greater the incentive's monetary value. In addition, there is no disproportionate increase in donors who come to a drive but are ineligible to donate when incentives are offered. Further evidence from a small-scale field experiment corroborates these findings and confirms that donors are motivated by the economic value of the items offered. We also find that a substantial fraction of the increase in donations due to incentives may be explained by donors substituting away from neighboring drives toward drives where rewards are offered, and the likelihood of this substitution is higher the higher the monetary value of the incentive offered and if neighboring drives do not offer incentives. Thus, extrinsic incentives motivate pro-social behavior, but unless substitution effects are also considered, the effect of incentives may be overestimated.
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A field experiment (N = 113,047 participants) manipulated two factors in the sale of souvenir photos. First, some customers saw a traditional fixed price, whereas others could pay what they wanted (including $0). Second, approximately half of the customers saw a variation in which half of the revenue went to charity. At a standard fixed price, the charitable component only slightly increased demand, as similar studies have also found. However, when participants could pay what they wanted, the same charitable component created a treatment that was substantially more profitable. Switching from corporate social responsibility to what we term shared social responsibility works in part because customized contributions allow customers to directly express social welfare concerns through the purchasing of material goods.
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The supply of blood and plasma to produce haemotherapies varies around the world, but all environments need donors to furnish the raw material. Many countries still lack adequate supply, and the question of what amounts of blood and plasma are required for optimal treatment is still unresolved. The issue of compensating donors has been a controversial and emotive one in blood transfusion for many decades. Donors are conventionally classified as paid, voluntary or replacement, and a level of stigma, based on safety and ethical considerations, has been attached to paid donation. This review points to evidence which renders many of these concerns redundant. Purist arguments against compensated donation have little basis in evidence and would lead to many of today's voluntary donors being designated as paid, because of the large range of incentives used to recruit and retain them. Misplaced application of 'Titmussian' volunteerism has precipitated its own safety and supply problems. Current systems of compensation and replacement are needed to maintain supplies of essential products and lead to safe products in controlled environments. We propose that a plurality of routes towards donation is an appropriate paradigm in the heterogeneous landscape of blood and plasma product supply.
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Defaults often have a large influence on consumer decisions. We identify an overlooked but practical alternative to defaults: requiring individuals to make explicit choices for themselves. We study such “active decisions” in the context of 401(k) saving. We find that compelling new hires to make active decisions about 401(k) enrollment raises the initial fraction that enroll by 28 percentage points relative to a standard opt-in enrollment procedure, producing a savings distribution three months after hire that would take thirty months to achieve under standard enrollment. We also present a model of 401(k) enrollment and derive conditions under which the optimal enrollment regime is automatic enrollment (i.e., default enrollment), standard enrollment (i.e., default nonenrollment), or active decisions (i.e., no default and compulsory choice). Active decisions are optimal when consumers have a strong propensity to procrastinate and savings preferences are highly heterogeneous. Financial illiteracy, however, favors default enrollment over active decision enrollment.
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Past research has established that, while self-reports of purchase intentions can predict behavior, various factors affect the strength of the intentions-behavior link. This article explores one such factor: the impact of merely measuring intent. Our specific question concerns the impact of measuring intent on subsequent purchase behavior. Prior research suggests a mere-measurement hypothesis: that merely measuring intent will increase subsequent purchase behavior. We also suggest a polarization hypothesis: that repeated intent questions will have a polarizing effect on behavior. The results reveal that the effect of merely asking intent to buy once is an increase in the subsequent purchase rate. The effect of repeatedly asking intent for those with low levels of intent is a decreased propensity to buy with repeated measurements. These two effects are reduced given prior experience with the product. The implications of these findings and opportunities for future research are discussed.
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This study develops theory and uses a door-to-door fund-raising field experiment to explore the economics of charity. We approached nearly 5000 households, randomly divided into four experimental treatments, to shed light on key issues on the demand side of charitable fund-raising. Empirical results are in line with our theory: in gross terms, the lotteries raised more money than the voluntary contributions treatments. Interestingly, in terms of both maximizing current contributions and inducing participation, we find that a one-standard deviation increase in female solicitor physical attractiveness is similar to that ofthe lottery incentive.
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In six experiments we show that initial valuations of familiar products and simple hedonic experiences are strongly influenced by arbitrary “anchors” (sometimes derived from a person's social security number). Because subsequent valuations are also coherent with respect to salient differences in perceived quality or quantity of these products and experiences, the entire pattern of valuations can easily create an illusion of order, as if it is being generated by stable underlying preferences. The experiments show that this combination of coherent arbitrariness (1) cannot be interpreted as a rational response to information, (2) does not decrease as a result of experience with a good, (3) is not necessarily reduced by market forces, and (4) is not unique to cash prices. The results imply that demand curves estimated from market data need not reveal true consumer preferences, in any normatively significant sense of the term.
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We conducted a natural field experiment to explore the effect of price changes on charitable contributions. To operationalize our tests, we examine whether an offer to match contributions to a non-profit organization changes the likelihood and amount that an individual donates. Direct mail solicitations were sent to over 50,000 prior donors. We find that the match offer increases both the revenue per solicitation and the probability that an individual donates. While comparisons of the match treatments and the control group consistently reveal this pattern, larger match ratios (i.e., $3:$1 and $2:$1) relative to smaller match ratios ($1:$1) had no additional impact. The results have clear implications for practitioners in the design of fundraising campaigns and provide avenues for future empirical and theoretical work on charitable giving. Further, the data provide an interesting test of important methods used in cost-benefit analysis.
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The article discusses how should policy-makers choose defaults regarding organ donors. First, consider that every policy must have a no-action default, and defaults impose physical, cognitive, and, in the case of donation, emotional costs on those who must change their status. Second, note that defaults can lead to two kinds of misclassification, willing donors who are not identified or people who become donors against their wishes. Changes in defaults could increase donations in the United States of additional thousands of donors a year. Because each donor can be used for about three transplants, the consequences are substantial in lives saved.
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Human choices are remarkably susceptible to the manner in which options are presented. This so-called “framing effect” represents a striking violation of standard economic accounts of human rationality, although its underlying neurobiology is not understood. We found that the framing effect was specifically associated with amygdala activity, suggesting a key role for an emotional system in mediating decision biases. Moreover, across individuals, orbital and medial prefrontal cortex activity predicted a reduced susceptibility to the framing effect. This finding highlights the importance of incorporating emotional processes within models of human choice and suggests how the brain may modulate the effect of these biasing influences to approximate rationality.
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This paper summarizes the empirical evidence on how defaults impact retirement savings outcomes. After outlining the salient features of the various sources of retirement income in the U.S., the paper presents the empirical evidence on how defaults impact retirement savings outcomes at all stages of the savings lifecycle, including savings plan participation, savings rates, asset allocation, and post-retirement savings distributions. The paper then discusses why defaults have such a tremendous impact on savings outcomes. The paper concludes with a discussion of the role of public policy towards retirement saving when defaults matter.
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This study reports evidence from a field experiment that was conducted to investigate the relevance of gift exchange in a natural setting. In collaboration with a charitable organization, we sent roughly 10,000 solicitation letters to potential donors. One-third of the letters contained no gift, one-third contained a small gift, and one-third contained a large gift. Treatment assignment was random. The results confirm the economic importance of gift exchange. Compared to the no gift condition, the relative frequency of donations increased by 17 percent if a small gift was included and by 75 percent for a large gift. The study extends the current body of research on gift exchange, which is almost exclusively confined to laboratory studies. Copyright The Econometric Society 2007.
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Dans la microeconomie standard, les preferences du consommateur sont considerees comme des donnees (variable exogene). George Stigler et Gary Becker cherchent ici a endogeneiser ces preferences, ce qui les place alors sur un des terrains favoris des sociologues : l’analyse des gouts. Notre collegue Christophe Longuet nous offre une traduction inedite de cet article canonique precedee d’une presentation. Son travail, en tout point remarquable, vous sera certainement tres utile.
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Corruption in the public sector erodes tax compliance and leads to higher tax evasion. Moreover, corrupt public officials abuse their public power to extort bribes from the private agents. In both types of interaction with the public sector, the private agents are bound to face uncertainty with respect to their disposable incomes. To analyse effects of this uncertainty, a stochastic dynamic growth model with the public sector is examined. It is shown that deterministic excessive red tape and corruption deteriorate the growth potential through income redistribution and public sector inefficiencies. Most importantly, it is demonstrated that the increase in corruption via higher uncertainty exerts adverse effects on capital accumulation, thus leading to lower growth rates.
ÔPaying not to go to the gymÕ
  • Della Vigna
  • S Malmendier
Della Vigna, S. and Malmendier, U. (2006). ÔPaying not to go to the gymÕ, American Economic Review, vol. 96(3), pp. 694-719.
ÔField experiments in charitable contribution: the impact of social influence on the voluntary provision of public goodsÕ ÔFrames, biases, and rational decision-making in the human brainÕ
  • R Croson
  • J Shang
  • B De Martino
  • D Kumaran
  • B Seymour
  • R J Dolan
Croson, R. and Shang, J. (2011). ÔField experiments in charitable contribution: the impact of social influence on the voluntary provision of public goodsÕ, Technical Report, University of Texas, Dallas. De Martino, B., Kumaran, D., Seymour, B. and Dolan, R.J. (2006). ÔFrames, biases, and rational decision-making in the human brainÕ, Science, vol. 313(5787), pp. 684–7.
ÔThe importance of default options for retirement savings outcomes: evidence from the united statesÕ ÔEndogenous preferences: the cultural consequences of markets and other economic institutionsÕ
  • J Beshears
  • J J Choi
  • D I Laibson
  • B C Madrian
Beshears, J., Choi, J.J., Laibson, D.I. and Madrian, B.C. (2008). ÔThe importance of default options for retirement savings outcomes: evidence from the united statesÕ, in (S.J. Kay and T. Sinha, eds.), ÔLessons from Pension Reform in the AmericasÕ, pp. 59–87, New York: Oxford University Press. Bowles, S. (1998). ÔEndogenous preferences: the cultural consequences of markets and other economic institutionsÕ, Journal of Economic Literature, vol. 36(1), pp. 75–111.
ÔDoing it now or laterÕ
  • O Donoghue
  • T And Rabin
O'Donoghue, T. and Rabin, M. (1999). ÔDoing it now or laterÕ, American Economic Review, vol. 89(1), pp. 103–24.
  • Bronchetti