Inefficiency in Cadaveric Organ Procurement
The shortage of cadaveric human organs made available for transplantation has reached critical proportions and is now causing over 6000 deaths each year in the United States alone. Economically, this shortage appears to stem from at least two principal underlying causes, both of which are attributable to the 1984 National Organ Transplant Act: (i) a legal prohibition on payments to organ donors and/or their surviving family members; and (ii) the legislatively mandated structure of the organ procurement industry, which specifies a group of nonprofit regional monopsonists as collection agents. Here, we focus on some consequences of the latter restriction. Using a frontier methodology, we estimate the magnitude of the inefficiencies exhibited by the individual procurement agencies (relative to the most efficient) after controlling for exogenous factors. Our findings show that, even if these inefficiencies could (somehow) be completely eliminated, the organ shortage would still persist.
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Volume (Year): 73 (2006)
Issue (Month): 1 (July)
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