Market for Body Organs?
By Arnold Kling
Alex Tabarrok looks at the issue of how to increase the availability of organs for transplant.
In the minds of many, financial incentives for organ donation means rich people buying up kidneys being hawked on eBay by the desperately poor…Two distinctions are especially important. First, financial compensation for cadaveric donation and for living donation are different ideas and it is quite possible to have one without the other. Indeed, the primary cause of so-called organ tourism—rich people flying to poor countries like India to undergo a transplant from a poor, living donor—is the shortage of organs in the West. By allowing compensation for cadaveric donations we’ll increase the domestic supply and reduce the demand for people to fly to poorer countries for living donation. Financial compensation for cadaveric donation, in other words, is a substitute for both paid and unpaid living donation.
Second, organs are currently allocated according to a point system which is based on factors such as the quality of the match between donor and recipient, the length of time the potential recipient has been on the waiting list, the health of the potential recipient and so forth. It is not necessary to change these criteria in order to make use of financial compensation. Financial incentives can be used to increase the supply of organs without using finance to determine who will receive an organ
For Discussion. Using financial incentives for blood donation and organ donation is controversial. Including other countries, what experiments have been tried and what issues have arisen?