This paper addresses volunteer labor markets where the lack of price signals, nonpecuniary motivations to supply labor, and limited fungibility of supply lead to market failure. To address the causes of the market failure, we conduct a field experiment with volunteer whole blood donors where we introduce a market-clearing mechanism (henceforth: the Registry). Our intention-to-treat estimates suggest that subjects invited to the Registry, regardless of joining, are 66% more responsive to critical shortage appeals than control subjects. While the Registry increases supply during a critical shortage episode, it does not increase supply when there is no shortage; thus, the Registry significantly improves coordination between volunteer donors and collection centers, thereby improving market outcomes. We find evidence that the Registry’s effectiveness stems from crowding-in volunteers with purely altruistic motives and volunteers with a preference for commitment.
|Number of pages||14|
|Early online date||14 Jan 2020|
|Publication status||Published - Aug 2020|
- Ask avoidance
- Market design
- Market failure
- Voluntary labor