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Inefficiency in Cadaveric Organ Procurement


  • T. Randolph Beard

    () (Department of Economics, Auburn University)

  • David L. Kaserman

    () (Department of Economics, Auburn University)

  • Richard P. Saba

    () (Department of Economics, Auburn University)


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.

Suggested Citation

  • T. Randolph Beard & David L. Kaserman & Richard P. Saba, 2006. "Inefficiency in Cadaveric Organ Procurement," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 73(1), pages 13-26, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:sej:ancoec:v:73:1:y:2006:p:13-26

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Robert W. Fogel, 1999. "Catching Up with the Economy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(1), pages 1-21, March.
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    Cited by:

    1. Fernandez, Jose & Stohr, Lisa, 2009. "The Effect of Traffic Safety Laws and Obesity Rates on Living Organ Donations," MPRA Paper 17033, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • C29 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Other


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