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Effect of persuasive messages on organ donation decisions: An experimental test


  • Li, Danyang


The supply of deceased donor organs is a limiting factor for transplantation based therapies. This paper utilizes a laboratory experiment to evaluate the effect of supplementing the organ donor registration request with a persuasive message on donation decisions. The informational message provided in the experiment contains information about the additional dollar amount a potential recipient could earn after receiving an organ in the experiment. Results of the experiment indicate that an informational message had a positive impact at the beginning of the experiment, but this treatment effect slowly wore off over time. The results also suggest subjects’ donation decisions in the experiment were highly associated with their donor registration status in real life. Subjects who are registered donors in real life were more likely to register in the experiment than those who are not donors, while this gap was perfectly closed when the informational message was introduced. Subjects who are not donors in real life were 17% more likely to register as a donor in the experiment when they were provided with the message.

Suggested Citation

  • Li, Danyang, 2016. "Effect of persuasive messages on organ donation decisions: An experimental test," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 131(PB), pages 150-159.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:131:y:2016:i:pb:p:150-159
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jebo.2016.03.010

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Small, Deborah A. & Loewenstein, George & Slovic, Paul, 2007. "Sympathy and callousness: The impact of deliberative thought on donations to identifiable and statistical victims," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 102(2), pages 143-153, March.
    2. Judd B. Kessler & Alvin E. Roth, 2012. "Organ Allocation Policy and the Decision to Donate," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(5), pages 2018-2047, August.
    3. Li, Danyang & Hawley, Zackary & Schnier, Kurt, 2013. "Increasing organ donation via changes in the default choice or allocation rule," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(6), pages 1117-1129.
    4. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Herr, Annika & Normann, Hans-Theo, 2016. "How much priority bonus should be given to registered organ donors? An experimental analysis," DICE Discussion Papers 239, University of Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf Institute for Competition Economics (DICE).

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    Organ donation; Experiments; Health economics;


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