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Summary

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.