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Oops! I Did It Again: Understanding Mechanisms of Persistence in Prosocial Behavior

Adrian Bruhin, Lorenz Goette, Simon Haenni and Lingqing Jiang

Cahiers de Recherches Economiques du Département d'économie from Université de Lausanne, Faculté des HEC, Département d’économie

Abstract: We test whether asking individuals to donate blood leads to a persistent change in behavior, and examine the underlying mechanism. In a field experiment, we randomize a phone call, asking blood donors to turn out, and follow them over up to 18 months. We observe significant behavioral persistence for at least one year. We use naturally occurring rainfall as a second instrument for donor turnout to test whether behavioral persistence is due to habit formation (Stigler and Becker, 1977) or a persistent increase in motivation independent of past donation. Our results strongly favor habit formation as the underlying mechanism.

Keywords: Prosocial behavior; Habit formation; Field experiment; Natural experiment (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C36 C93 D04 D91 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 49 pp.
Date: 2020-12
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-exp, nep-hme and nep-soc
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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:lau:crdeep:21.01

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