My guest today, Mario Macis of Johns Hopkins University, has done a number of interesting studies related to blood and organ donation, particularly the compensation of blood and organ donors. For instance, Mario and his coauthor, Nicola Lacetera, observed the effect of an incentive system that offered symbolic rewards to blood donors in a particular Italian town. They found that when prizes for frequent donation were publicly announced, people donated more blood, indicating that social image concerns are a factor in blood donation.
Through a large-scale natural field experiment with the American Red Cross, Mario and his coauthors showed that offering donors economic incentives to donate blood increases donation without increasing the fraction of ineligible donors.
Mario's more recent research deals with people's attitudes towards compensated kidney donation. Using a choice experiment, Mario and his coauthors study the determinants of Americans' views on these repugnant transactions:
Finally, we discuss some proposed legislation that would allow limited experiments in compensating kidney donors.