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Sacred Values? The Effect of Information on Attitudes toward Payments for Human Organs

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  • Julio J. Elias
  • Nicola Lacetera
  • Mario Macis

Abstract

Are attitudes about morally controversial (and often prohibited) market transactions affected by information about their costs and benefits? We address this question for the case of payments for human organs. We find in a survey experiment with US residents (N=3,417) that providing information on the potential efficiency benefits of a regulated price mechanism for organs significantly increased support for payments from a baseline of 52 percent to 71 percent. The survey was devised to minimize social desirability biases in responses, and additional analyses validate the interpretation that subjects were reflecting on the case-specific details provided, rather than just reacting to any information.

Suggested Citation

  • Julio J. Elias & Nicola Lacetera & Mario Macis, 2015. "Sacred Values? The Effect of Information on Attitudes toward Payments for Human Organs," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 105(5), pages 361-365, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:105:y:2015:i:5:p:361-65
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.p20151035
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Gary S. Becker & Julio Jorge Elías, 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.
    2. Roth, Alvin E. & Leider, Stephen, 2010. "Kidneys For Sale: Who Disapproves, and Why?," Scholarly Articles 5128483, Harvard University Department of Economics.
    3. Alvin E. Roth, 2007. "Repugnance as a Constraint on Markets," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 21(3), pages 37-58, Summer.
    4. Scott Cunningham & Manisha Shah, 2014. "Decriminalizing Indoor Prostitution: Implications for Sexual Violence and Public Health," NBER Working Papers 20281, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Rajna Gibson & Carmen Tanner & Alexander F. Wagner, 2013. "Preferences for Truthfulness: Heterogeneity among and within Individuals," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(1), pages 532-548, February.
    6. Julio J. Elias & Nicola Lacetera & Mario Macis, 2015. "Sacred Values? The Effect of Information on Attitudes toward Payments for Human Organs," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 105(5), pages 361-365, May.
    7. Katherine B. Coffman & Lucas C. Coffman & Keith M. Marzilli Ericson, 2013. "The Size of the LGBT Population and the Magnitude of Anti-Gay Sentiment are Substantially Underestimated," NBER Working Papers 19508, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Martin R. West & Ludger Woessmann & Philipp Lergetporer & Katharina Werner, 2016. "How Information Affects Support for Education Spending: Evidence from Survey Experiments in Germany and the United States," NBER Working Papers 22808, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Nicola Lacetera, 2016. "Incentives and Ethics in the Economics of Body Parts," NBER Working Papers 22673, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Simon, Lisa & Piopiunik, Marc & Lergetporer, Philipp, 2017. "Information, perceived education level, and attitudes toward refugees: Evidence from a randomized survey experiment," Annual Conference 2017 (Vienna): Alternative Structures for Money and Banking 168280, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    4. Lergetporer, Philipp & Werner, Katharina & Woessmann, Ludger, 2018. "Educational Inequality and Public Policy Preferences: Evidence from Representative Survey Experiments," IZA Discussion Papers 11730, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    5. repec:aea:aejmic:v:9:y:2017:i:4:p:108-40 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Julio J. Elías & Nicola Lacetera & Mario Macis & Paola Salardi, 2017. "Economic Development and the Regulation of Morally Contentious Activities," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 107(5), pages 76-80, May.
    7. Julio J. Elias & Nicola Lacetera & Mario Macis, 2015. "Sacred Values? The Effect of Information on Attitudes toward Payments for Human Organs," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 105(5), pages 361-365, May.
    8. Sandro Ambuehl, 2017. "An Offer You Can't Refuse? Incentives Change How We Inform Ourselves and What We Believe," CESifo Working Paper Series 6296, CESifo Group Munich.
    9. Lergetporer, Philipp & Werner, Katharina & Woessmann, Ludger, 2018. "Educational Inequality and Public Policy Preferences: Evidence from Representative Survey Experiments," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 391, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).
    10. Philipp Lergetporer & Guido Schwerdt & Katharina Werner & Ludger Wößmann, 2016. "Information and Preferences for Public Spending: Evidence from Representative Survey Experiments," CESifo Working Paper Series 5938, CESifo Group Munich.
    11. Philipp Lergetporer & Marc Piopiunik & Lisa Simon, 2017. "Does the Education Level of Refugees Affect Natives' Attitudes?," CESifo Working Paper Series 6832, CESifo Group Munich.
    12. Yew-Kwang NG, 2016. "Extending Economic Analysis to Analyze Policy Issues More Broadly," Economic Growth Centre Working Paper Series 1609, Nanyang Technological University, School of Social Sciences, Economic Growth Centre.
    13. Ngawang Dendup & Toshi H. Arimura, 2018. "Information Leverage: The Adoption of Clean Cooking Fuel in Bhutan," RIEEM Discussion Paper Series 1801, Research Institute for Environmental Economics and Management, Waseda University.
    14. Julio Elias & Nicola Lacetera & Mario Macis, 2017. "Understanding repugnance: Implications for public policy," CEMA Working Papers: Serie Documentos de Trabajo. 614, Universidad del CEMA.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
    • D61 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Allocative Efficiency; Cost-Benefit Analysis
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • I11 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Analysis of Health Care Markets

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