A few years ago, we made a podcast episode with Al Roth, the Stanford economist whose work on market design and matchmaking won him a Nobel Prize. His most eye-catching work involves a system to increase the supply of kidney donors (and, more important, kidney recipients). We followed up that episode with another one, the […]
When I talk about economists, one of the greatest compliments I give is to say that they changed the way people think about the world. Al Roth definitely fits into that category. The type of economics he is best known for is what is called “Market Design.” Essentially, it means bringing market-type thinking to areas in which historically non-market allocation mechanisms have been used. A few examples of the areas Roth has explored are matching fledgling doctors to hospitals for their residency, matching students to public schools in school choice programs, and matching kidney donors with those who need a kidney.
I know Roth changed my thinking because the first time I read Roth’s work in this area I had a strong reaction: this isn’t really economics.
Virginia Postrelexamines the kidney donation system in the United States, where 11 people die every day waiting for a kidney transplant. Exchanging organs for payment is illegal in the U.S. although recent developments in organ exchanges, including donation chains, have been successful. These innovations alone, however, won't solve the problem, and Postrel advocates a new system that includes both financial incentives and measures to protect donors.
Economist Al Roth has an interesting blog post that describes how one altruistic kidney donor saved 10 lives. Here's how it worked.
One of the things Roth has been working
on, given the repugnance many noneconomists feel about paying for organs, is creating chains of organ donations. Many people who need kidney transplants have a donor who is willing to donate one, but who is not a good match for the recipient.
Reader Roberto Ruiz alerted us to this mock news report from the Onion on an “anonymous donation” of 200 kidneys to a hospital. While the joke is graphic (and the accompanying video footage may not be suitable for the squeamish) the satire is right on point — in the absence of other ways to acquire […]
Is the “cropland bubble” bursting? New search engine uses ranking algorithm to reduce spam. (Earlier) Cardiac arrest fatalities may provide a new kidney source. (Earlier) Students gather data by sniffing livestock manure. (Earlier)
Receiving a kidney: a personal account. (Earlier) A wonderful meditation on globalization and journalism. Online game’s in-world economist issues his first newsletter. (Earlier) “The Wallet Test” captures honesty on camera. (Earlier)
We have blogged repeatedly — mercilessly, some might say — about the serious shortage of human organs for transplantation, and what might be done about it. The basic problem is that relying on altruism doesn’t produce enough donated organs, but there is widespread repugnance at the idea of paying people for organs. There’s a fascinating […]