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One Chance in a Million: Altruism and the Bone Marrow Registry

  • Theodore C. Bergstrom
  • Rodney J. Garratt
  • Damien Sheehan-Connor

Stem cell transplants save lives of many patients with blood diseases. Donation is painful, but rarely has lasting adverse effects. Patients can accept transplants only from donors with compatible immune systems. Those lacking a sibling match must seek donations from the general population. The probability that two unrelated persons are compatible is less than 1/10,000. Health authorities maintain a registry of several million genetically tested potential donors who agree to donate if asked. We find that the benefits of adding registrants of every race exceed costs. We also explore the peculiar structure of voluntary public good provision that faces potential donors. (JEL D64, H41, I11)

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Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 99 (2009)
Issue (Month): 4 (September)
Pages: 1309-34

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:99:y:2009:i:4:p:1309-34
Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.99.4.1309
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