UTM management prof reveals new research on blood donation incentives

Nicola Lacetera’s research may have been published in some of the most prestigious academic journals in the world, but the University of Toronto Mississauga faculty member is looking to find ways to apply his work to the local community.

“I’d really like to see how my research or my colleague’s can make a difference, including this work on motivating blood donations,” the assistant professor of strategic management told YourMississaugaBiz.com. “I would really love to reach out more to companies or organizations, public policy makers and so on.”

Lacetera recently co-authored a new study on how economic incentives like gift cards for potential donors shouldn’t be discouraged by the World Health Organization, who advocate for unpaid volunteers.

“When people are offered these incentives, we see both in historical studies and experimental studies in donations made, they do respond positively,” Lacetera said.

Prior to his current position at UTM, Lacetera had a four-year appointment at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. He completed his doctorate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and is now cross-appointed to the Rotman School of Business at U of T’s St. George Campus.

But it was the economic and management departments’ growth at UTM that really appealed to Lacetera. “It’s growing, we have a larger and larger number of research scholars and those professional programs like M.Biotech look really interesting,” he said.

Next September, Lacetera will also be moving to UTM’s new business school, in the four-level, $35 million Innovation Complex.

Adjacent to the existing Kaneff Centre, the Innovation Complex will house the campus’ Institute of Management and Innovation and industry-specific post-graduate programs like the master’s in management and professional accounting.

UTM held a groundbreaking event for the new building last Thursday. “We feel we’ll be able to do really well in terms of teaching and research there,” Lacetera said, referring to the department’s junior faculty.

The research on blood donation incentives was co-authored by Mario Macis of Johns Hopkins University and Robert Slonim of the University of Sydney. It was published in the May 24 issue of Science.

Lacetera has also published papers in business-related academic journals like the American Economic Review, Management Science and the American Economic Journal.

The findings of Lacetera’s research strongly contrast to the blood donation guidelines recommended by the World Health Organization for unpaid volunteers.

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