NBER Publications by Mario Macis

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Working Papers and Chapters

January 2015Sacred Values? The Effect of Information on Attitudes toward Payments for Human Organs
with Julio J. Elias, Nicola Lacetera: w20866
Many economic transactions are prohibited—even in the absence of health or safety concerns or negative externalities—because of ethical concerns that cause these exchanges to be perceived as “repugnant” if conducted through a market. Establishing a system of payments for human organs is a particularly relevant example given its implications for public health; in almost all countries, these payments are prohibited because they are considered morally unacceptable—a prohibition that societies seem to accept despite the long waitlists and high death rates for people needing a transplant. We investigate how deeply rooted these attitudes are and, in particular, whether providing information on how a price mechanism can help alleviate the organ shortage changes people’s opinions about the legaliz...

Published: Julio J. Elias & Nicola Lacetera & Mario Macis, 2015. "Sacred Values? The Effect of Information on Attitudes toward Payments for Human Organs," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 105(5), pages 361-65, May. citation courtesy of

December 2012The Effects of Information, Social and Economic Incentives on Voluntary Undirected Blood Donations: Evidence from a Randomized Controlled Trial in Argentina
with Victor Iajya, Nicola Lacetera, Robert Slonim: w18630
In many low- and middle-income countries blood donations per capita are substantially lower than in advanced economies. In these countries blood supply is mostly collected through donations by relatives and friends of individuals needing transfusions or to replace blood used in emergencies. The World Health Organization considers this method of blood supply inefficient compared to undirected voluntary donations. To examine methods to motivate undirected voluntary donations, we ran a large-scale, natural field experiment in Argentina testing the effectiveness of information, social and economic incentives. We find that only higher-valued economic incentives generated more donations, increasing in the value of the incentive. These incentives did not create adverse selection in the safety an...

Published: Social Science & Medicine Volume 98, December 2013, Pages 214–223 Cover image The effects of information, social and financial incentives on voluntary undirected blood donations: Evidence from a field experiment in Argentina Victor Iajyaa, 1, , Nicola Laceterab, 2, , Mario Macisc, , , Robert Slonimd, 3,

August 2012Removing Financial Barriers to Organ and Bone Marrow Donation: The Effect of Leave and Tax Legislation in the U.S.
with Nicola Lacetera, Sarah S. Stith: w18299
In an attempt to alleviate the shortfall in organs and bone marrow available for transplants, many U.S. states passed legislation providing leave to organ and bone marrow donors and/or tax benefits for live and deceased organ and bone marrow donations and to employers of donors. We exploit cross-state variation in the timing and passage of such legislation to analyze its impact on organ donations by living and deceased persons, on measures of the quality of the organs transplanted, and on the number of bone marrow donations. We find that these provisions did not have a significant impact on the quantity of organs donated. The leave legislation, however, did have a positive impact on bone marrow donations. We also find some evidence of a positive impact on the quality of organ transplants, ...

Published: Lacetera, Nicola & Macis, Mario & Stith, Sarah S., 2014. "Removing financial barriers to organ and bone marrow donation: The effect of leave and tax legislation in the U.S," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(C), pages 43-56. citation courtesy of

December 2011Rewarding Altruism? A Natural Field Experiment
with Nicola Lacetera, Robert Slonim: w17636
We present evidence from a natural field experiment involving nearly 100,000 individuals on the effects of offering economic incentives for blood donations. Subjects who were offered economic rewards to donate blood were more likely to donate, and more so the higher the value of the rewards. They were also more likely to attract others to donate, spatially alter the location of their donations towards the drives offering rewards, and modify their temporal donation schedule leading to a short-term reduction in donations immediately after the reward offer was removed. Although offering economic incentives, combining all of these effects, positively and significantly increased donations, ignoring individuals who took additional actions beyond donating to get others to donate would have led to...

Published: "Rewarding Volunteers: A Field Experiment," Management Science, 60(5), 1107–1129, 2014

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