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Solving shortage in a priceless market: Insights from blood donation

Author

Listed:
  • Sun, Tianshu
  • Lu, Susan Feng
  • Jin, Ginger Zhe

Abstract

Shortage is common in many markets, such as those for human organs or blood, but the problem is often difficult to solve through price adjustment, given safety and ethical concerns. In this paper, we study two non-price methods that are often used to alleviate shortage for human blood. The first method is informing existing donors of a current shortage via a mobile message and encouraging them to donate voluntarily. The second method is asking the patient's family or friends to donate in a family replacement (FR) program at the time of shortage. Using 447,357 individual donation records across 8 years from a large Chinese blood bank, we show that both methods are effective in addressing blood shortage in the short run but have different implications for total blood supply in the long run. We compare the efficacy of these methods and discuss their applications under different scenarios to alleviate shortage.

Suggested Citation

  • Sun, Tianshu & Lu, Susan Feng & Jin, Ginger Zhe, 2016. "Solving shortage in a priceless market: Insights from blood donation," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(C), pages 149-165.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jhecon:v:48:y:2016:i:c:p:149-165
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jhealeco.2016.05.001
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Shortage; Blood donation; Family replacement; Non-price method; Market design;

    JEL classification:

    • D47 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Market Design
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health

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