Egg Donors Fight the Oocyte Cartel

Alex Tabarrok explores the world of egg donation, which is heavily regulated by the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology (SART) and the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM).  The two organizations effectively limit egg donor compensation to $5,000-$10,000, acting as a "buyer's cartel," in Tabarrok's words:

In 2011, Lindsay Kamakahi launched a class action suit against ASRM-SART challenging their horizontal price-fixing agreement as per se illegal under the Sherman Antitrust Act. ASRM-SART tried to have the case dismissed but a judge recently denied the dismissal in the process making it clear that the plaintiffs have a good case.

ASRM-SART argue that their maximum price is really about protecting women and that compensation “should not be so excessive as to constitute undue inducement.” Egg donation does involve extensive screening, time and some health risks. One would think, however, that the proper response for those interested in protecting women would be to ensure that the women are fully informed and that they are paid high wages not low wages.

Crime in The Wilson Quarterly

In the latest issue of The Wilson Quarterly, there's a "Crime and Punishment" section featuring Philip J. Cook and Jens Ludwig's "Economist's Guide to Crime-Busting" (gated), which considers the most "cost-effective way to control crime." And Alex Tabarrok of Marginal Revolution writes on one of his favorite topics: bounty hunting.

Toward a Better Understanding of the Law of Unintended Consequences

We recently published a column describing a few instances of the law of unintended consequences — specifically, what happens when well-meaning legislation winds up hurting the parties it is designed to help. I thought it was a pretty good column. But I see now where it could have been better. Alex Tabarrok, writing on Marginal […]

The Man Behind Tyler Cowen, and Freakonomics Too

Regular readers of this blog know how much we admire Tyler Cowen, especially for the Marginal Revolution blog he keeps with fellow George Mason University economics professor Alex Tabarrok. You may also remember some fulsome words of praise on this blog for Cowen’s forthcoming book, Discover Your Inner Economist. There is a really good profile […]

Let’s Hope This Is Not the Best Organ-Donor Incentive Proposed This Year

Congress has taken note of the shortage of donated organs, and has proposed an incentive to increase donation: a commemorative medal to honor organ donors. Alex Tabarrok at Marginal Revolution sums it up thusly: “Millions for medals but not a cent for compensation.” I am sure the congressmen and senators mean well, and we here […]

Final Guest-Blog From Seth Roberts

Here is the final post from our guest blogger, Seth Roberts. If you need to get up to speed on Seth’s unorthodox research with weight-loss, mood, acne, and sleep, click here (our N.Y. Times article about him), here (research extras and pix), here (the first round of reader comments), and here, here, here, here, and […]

Ich bin ein Freakonomist

In a very engaging discussion on WSJ.com, Alex Tabarrok and Bryan Caplan, a pair of economists at George Mason University, show that Freakonomics is hardly the only place to find creative applications of economic research.