Valuing human organs: an application of contingent valuation
John R. Crooker
Jamie B. Kruse
Purpose – This paper aims to estimate a supply response to monetary incentives to donate organs using a survey based on Adams, Barnett and Kaserman. Design/methodology/approach – The paper uses bootstrap techniques to estimate the characteristics of individuals and their willingness to accept monetary compensation for an organ donation commitment. It uses the estimates to fuel a simulation that examines the relationship between a market-clearing price and the usability rate. The usability rate is the proportion of deaths that result in tissues that are viable for transplant. Findings – By analyzing the relationship between usability rate and market-clearing price, the paper identifies three important ranges. When the usability rate is about 5 percent, a donation-only system (zero price) should clear the market. At a usability rate between 2 and 5 percent, modest monetary incentives can attract a supply response that will clear the market. When the usability rate is less than 2 percent, supply becomes sufficiently inelastic so that even large monetary incentives will not solve the shortage problem. Practical implications – If the market mechanism were capable of yielding a greater number of organs for transplantation than the current system, then its adoption would save numerous lives and significantly reduce the cost of treating a variety of serious diseases. Also, it is useful in a benefit-cost analysis framework designed to measure the social value of refinements in the coordination system. Originality/value – By relating the market-clearing price of organs to their usability rates, this paper draws attention on the importance of interdisciplinary studies.
Body systems and organs, Sales incentives, Transplant surgery
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