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Informed Consent Versus Presumed Consent The Role of the Family in Organ Donations

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  • Philippe Fevrier

    (ENSAE)

  • Sebastien Gay

    (University of Chicago)

Abstract

Two types of legislation underlie cadaveric organ donations: presumed consent (PC) and informed consent (IC). In informed consent countries, people are only donors when deceased if they registered to do so while alive. Conversely, in presumed consent countries, anybody is a potential donor when deceased. People have thus to register if they do not want to donate their body. PC has always been perceived as the “best” system for society in terms of organ donations whereas IC is supposed to be more ethical. However, in both systems, the family has a say, especially for the deceased who did not sign anything while alive. Taking the family decision into account, we show that the previous results may be reversed. The difference between both systems resides in the way an individual can commit to his/her will, eventually against the opinion of his/her family. IC can dominate PC in terms of organ donations whereas PC can be a more ethical system. In the general case, two opposite effects are at stake and the result depends on the extent to which people stay in the default situation. We discuss several causes of inactions (death taboo, procrastination, anticipated regret,...) and their impact on both the individual and the family.

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File URL: http://128.118.178.162/eps/hew/papers/0509/0509007.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by EconWPA in its series HEW with number 0509007.

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Length: 19 pages
Date of creation: 23 Sep 2005
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Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwphe:0509007

Note: Type of Document - pdf; pages: 19
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Web page: http://128.118.178.162

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  1. Brigitte C. Madrian & Dennis F. Shea, 2000. "The Power of Suggestion: Inertia in 401(k) Participation and Savings Behavior," NBER Working Papers 7682, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Kahneman, Daniel & Tversky, Amos, 1979. "Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision under Risk," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(2), pages 263-91, March.
  3. James J. Choi & David Laibson & Brigitte C. Madrian & Andrew Metrick, 2005. "Passive Decisions and Potent Defaults," NBER Chapters, in: Analyses in the Economics of Aging, pages 59-78 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Daniel Kahneman & Jack L. Knetsch & Richard H. Thaler, 1991. "Anomalies: The Endowment Effect, Loss Aversion, and Status Quo Bias," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 5(1), pages 193-206, Winter.
  5. Samuelson, William & Zeckhauser, Richard, 1988. " Status Quo Bias in Decision Making," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 1(1), pages 7-59, March.
  6. Akerlof, George A, 1991. "Procrastination and Obedience," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(2), pages 1-19, May.
  7. Sendhil Mullainathan & Richard H. Thaler, 2000. "Behavioral Economics," NBER Working Papers 7948, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Gary S. Becker & Julio Jorge El�as, 2007. "Introducing Incentives in the Market for Live and Cadaveric Organ Donations," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 21(3), pages 3-24, Summer.
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