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Journal of Economic Perspectives: Vol. 21 No. 3 (Summer 2007)

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Introducing Incentives in the Market for Live and Cadaveric Organ Donations

Article Citation

Becker, Gary S., and Julio Jorge Elías. 2007. "Introducing Incentives in the Market for Live and Cadaveric Organ Donations." Journal of Economic Perspectives, 21(3): 3-24.

DOI: 10.1257/jep.21.3.3

Abstract

We evaluate the introduction of monetary incentives in the market for live and cadaveric organ donations. We show that monetary incentives would increase the supply of organs for transplant sufficiently to eliminate the very large queues in organ markets, and the suffering and deaths of many of those waiting, without increasing the total cost of transplant surgery by more than about 12 percent. We build on the value-of-life literature and other parts of economic analysis to estimate the equilibrium cost of live transplants for kidneys and livers. We also show that market price for kidneys will be determined by the cost of live donations, even though most organs will come from cadavers.

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Authors

Becker, Gary S.
Elías, Julio Jorge

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