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Posts Tagged ‘Organ Donation’

Israel’s New Organ Donation Nudge

Israel, which has a history of creatively incentivizing organ donation, will soon be implementing yet another organ “nudge.”  Al Roth shared a recent email from Israeli transplant surgeon (and Freakonomics podcast guestJay Lavee explaining the new policy (which is based on unpublished research by Roth and Judd Kessler): 

Just a short note to let you know that the Israeli Minister of Health has adopted this week my recommendation to establish by law the modified mandated choice model based upon your work, whereby the issuing or renewal of an ID, passport or driving license will be conditional upon answering the question of becoming a registered donor to which only a positive answer will be given as an option or else the “Continue” button will be selected. It seems that, contrary to my previous worries, the entire registration for these documents is currently being done online and therefore there should be no technical issues to implement this model.

The Gender Gap in Organ Donors in Taiwan

Al Roth reports on an interesting gender gap in Taiwan: according to an article in Focus Taiwan, “Of the 620,000 people on Taiwan’s organ donation list, 65 percent are women…”  The article goes on to point out that:

The trend is more pronounced in the largest demographic of organ donors, those aged 21-50, which features 2.2 times more women than men, Wu [Ying-lai] said, based on an analysis of the 223,250 people who have signed up for the national organ donation program in the past 10 years.

Looking at the data more closely, the largest groups of donors are women aged 31-40, followed by women aged 41-50, women aged 21-30, men aged 31-40, and men aged 41-50, she noted.

Motorcycle Deaths Hold Steady

In SuperFreakonomics: The Illustrated Edition, we explored the bizarre, unintended consequence of repealing motorcycle helmet laws: an increase in human organs available for transplantation.

A new report shows that motorcycle deaths are not dropping. From the Wall Street Journal

A report released today by the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) finds that no progress was made in reducing motorcyclist deaths in 2011. Based upon preliminary data from 50 states and the District of Columbia, GHSA projects that motorcycle fatalities remained at about 4,500 in 2011, the same level as 2010. Meanwhile, earlier this month, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration projected that overall motor vehicle fatalities declined 1.7 percent in 2011, reaching their lowest level since 1949. Motorcycle deaths remain one of the few areas in highway safety where progress is not being made.

Surprise: Money Still Beats Goodwill as Incentive for Organ Donors

If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you know we write a lot about organ donation and incentives. Like whether registered organ donors should get priority when it comes time to get in line themselves. Or whether the transplant market is too restrictive.

A recent Bloomberg column by Virginia Postrel highlights the difference between goodwill and cold hard cash as incentives to donate, not to mention the legal limits that exist to prevent transplants going to the highest bidder.

Pay to Play: Should Registered Organ Donors Get Priority as Recipients?

The organ donor waiting list in America is a long one. There’s far too much demand for a very limited supply. In 2010, 89,316 people were on the kidney transplant waiting list, while the number of living donors was only 6,282, and the number of deceased donor transplants was 10,622. Freakonomics is no stranger to the repugnant discussion of the organ market. America’s particular organ donation policies, however, aren’t practiced everywhere. Singapore and Israel give priority to potential recipients who were already registered donors. A new working paper written by Judd B. Kessler of Wharton, and Alvin E. Roth from Harvard further tests this idea of priority-to-participants in an incentivized game. Here’s the abstract:

How to Best Incentivize Organ Donations?

Organ donation is a familiar topic around here. Back in December, we discussed whether there should be a legal market for organs in a podcast episode called “You Say Repugnant, I Say… Lets Do it!” A few weeks ago, we blogged about whether the idea of a legal organ market is losing its stigma. So we were immediately intrigued by news that emerged earlier this month from China, about a 17-year-old boy who had sold his kidney for $3,392 to buy a new iPad 2. From the BBC:

The 17-year-old, identified only as Little Zheng, told a local TV station he had arranged the sale of the kidney over the internet. The story only came to light after the teenager’s mother became suspicious. The case highlights China’s black market in organ trafficking. A scarcity of organ donors has led to a flourishing trade.

The story turned out to be perfect fodder for Michele Goodwin, who has embarked on a three-part series on organ transplantation over at the Chronicle of Higher Education. Goodwin argues that the organ transplant market is far too restrictive, and makes the case for creating better incentives for organ donors in order to undercut the black market.

An Organ Printer?

We’ve blogged at length about the shortage of donor organs in the United States. A company in San Diego is working on a solution to that problem.

Incentivized Altruism

Only one in ten Israeli adults is an organ donor and the country is addressing the situation with an innovative new policy. Organ donors and their close relatives will now receive priority if they require a transplant.

A New Solution to Unemployment?

We’ve blogged extensively about the serious organ-doner shortage in the U.S. and the debate over establishing a market for organs. Now it seems the recession has uncovered some unexpected potential participants in the organ market: unemployed white collar Americans.

Is the Ban on Selling Bone Marrow Unconstitutional?

I’ve written a fair amount about organ transplantation in the past (for example, here and here). But it was only in reading SuperFreakonomics that I learned that “the Iranian government [pays] people to give up a kidney, roughly $1,200, with an additional sum paid by the kidney recipient.” The book also tells the story of our own country’s brief flirtation with donor compensation:

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.

In a Divorce, Who Gets the Organs?

Dr. Richard Batista‘s wife’s health was failing, and so was their marriage. To save them both, he offered to be the kidney donor his wife Dawnell badly needed. Dawnell recovered, but their marriage didn’t. A few years later she filed for divorce. Now her husband says he wants his kidney back. If he can’t have it, he wants a payment . . .

Would a Market for Organs Punish the Poor More Than They Are Already Punished?

Below is a fascinating statement issued by Physicians for a National Health Program, “a membership organization of over 15,000 physicians [which] supports a single-payer national health insurance program.” You should read the whole thing but, in a nutshell: The people who receive donated organs in the U.S. nearly always have health insurance, while a significant fraction of the people who . . .

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

Vermont may drop D.M.V. fee for organ donors (Earlier) Friends of nuclear power (Earlier) (Earlier) How do food stamps affect obesity? (Earlier) Economists predict where top recruits will play

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 FREAK-est Links

Students fight for the right to file-share. (Earlier) Headhunters see spike in lies on resumes. Is Craigslist inadvertently prolonging the Iraq war? (Earlier) Why are so many good kidneys going to waste? (Earlier)

The FREAK-est Links

Smirnoff owner contemplates buying Absolut. (Earlier) Average U.S. household now spends $1,200 a year on consumer electronics. (Earlier) BMA lobbies for “presumed consent” rule on organ donation. (Earlier) Woman leaps into Japanese sumo ring, causes panic. (Earlier)

The FREAK-est Links

Easy credit also bad for bankruptcies. Gathering data on late adopters. (Earlier) Should people in poor health be allowed to donate organs? (Related)

The FREAK-est Links

British Airways faces class action for losing luggage. (HT: Consumerist) The $100 iPhone rebate analyzed. Housing slump spells bad news for real estate agents. (Earlier) Can graph theory match kidney donors? (HT: BoingBoing)

And Today Is…

August 29 is the day in 2000 when Pope John Paul II endorsed organ donation. No word on his endorsement of trading organs for shorter prison terms.