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Posts Tagged ‘Kidneys’

Al Roth Takes Home the Nobel Prize

Hearty congratulations to Harvard economist Al Roth (now at Stanford), whose work has been featured on many occasions here at the Freakonomics blog!

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.

For Sale: One Kidney?

Virginia Postrel examines 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.

Turning One Kidney Into Ten

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.

The Future of Kidney Donation?

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 urgently needed kidneys, some may . . .

The FREAK-est Links

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)

The FREAK-est Links

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)

What Would Jesus Do With His Kidneys?

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 article by Laura Meckler in . . .

Kidneys for Sale?

There’s an interesting article about organ transplantation in today’s Wall Street Journal, by Laura Meckler. It’s primarily about a transplant surgeon named Arthur Matas who has been advocating for the legalization of kidney sales in the U.S. Despite much opposition in the transplant community, Matas has been making headway: Appearing at a January meeting of the American Society of Transplant . . .

The FREAKest Links: Little Shop of Kidneys Edition

Organ donation is heading from a bogus reality show to the big screen: An A.P. article reports that Paris Hilton has landed a role in the movie Repo! The Genetic Opera, a so-called “horror rock” musical that’s “set in a plague-ravaged future where people can purchase new organs on the installment plan from a corporation called Geneco.” Hilton will play . . .

The FREAKest Links: Pay Kidneys Forward Edition

Here’s a unique solution to the problem of incentivizing organ donations: ABC News reports that a chain of kidney transplants has been started by a 28-year-old father of four, who donated his kidney to a stranger he found online. His generosity led the recipient’s husband to donate to another stranger, whose mother is now donating, and so on. Miguel Helft . . .

Dutch TV Kidney-Giveaway Show a Hoax (Probably, Sort Of)

Now it’s been revealed that the reality show we blogged about the other day was a hoax designed to call attention to the shortage of donated organs. The contestants who needed kidneys really do need kidneys, but the “donor” was an actress. “We have only done this cry for help because we want to solve a problem that shouldn’t be . . .

A New Incentive for Organ Donors: Shorter Prison Terms

That is the proposal being considered in the South Carolina Senate. Prisoners would receive up to 180 days of time served for donating an organ or bone marrow. The following exchange of quotes from an A.P. article pretty much sums up the positions of nearly every debate over how organ donation should be incentivized: Mary Jo Cagle, chief medical officer . . .

Update on Kidney Exchanges

Al Roth, a Harvard economics professor who has been a leader in getting kidney exchanges established, forwarded this press release to me: NEWS RELEASE U.S. Representative Charlie Norwood, Tenth District, Georgia For immediate release: January 29, 2007 Norwood/Inslee Introduce Paired Kidney Donation Bill in House (Washington, DC) – Patients waiting for a life-saving kidney transplant could have that wait significantly . . .