A study done in Sweden on 153 female, would-be blood donors showed surprising results. The women were divided into three groups– voluntary donation, paid donation, and paid donation with the immediate option to donate to children’s charity. Contrary to what you might expect, the paid women decided to donate at a significantly lower rate– only 30% compared to the 52% by voluntary donors and 53% by paid-with-donation-option donors. The selfish reward “tainted” the altruistic desire.

You can find the cited article here.

The original article is Mellström, Carl, and Magnus Johannesson. "Crowding out in blood donation: was Titmuss right?." Journal of the European Economic Association (2008).

This one data-point suggests that donations on your behalf have no effect. Are there other studies that can help answer whether charitable donations on your behalf are

  • valued
  • as effective as other incentives (e.g. money)?

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