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Donorcycles: Motorcycle Helmet Laws and the Supply of Organ Donors

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  • Stacy Dickert-Conlin
  • Todd Elder
  • Brian Moore

Abstract

Traffic safety mandates are typically designed to reduce the harmful externalities of risky behaviors. We consider whether motorcycle helmet laws also reduce a beneficial externality by decreasing the supply of viable organ donors. Our central estimates show that organ donations resulting from fatal motor vehicle accidents increase by 10 percent when states repeal helmet laws. Two features of this association suggest that it is causal: first, nearly all of it is concentrated among men, who account for over 90 percent of all motorcyclist deaths, and second, helmet laws are unrelated to the supply of donors who die in circumstances other than motor vehicle accidents. The estimates imply that every death of a helmetless motorcyclist prevents or delays as many as .33 death among individuals on organ transplant waiting lists.

Suggested Citation

  • Stacy Dickert-Conlin & Todd Elder & Brian Moore, 2011. "Donorcycles: Motorcycle Helmet Laws and the Supply of Organ Donors," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 54(4), pages 907-935.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:jlawec:doi:10.1086/661256
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Abadie, Alberto & Gay, Sebastien, 2006. "The impact of presumed consent legislation on cadaveric organ donation: A cross-country study," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(4), pages 599-620, July.
    2. Roth, Alvin E. & Sonmez, Tayfun & Utku Unver, M., 2005. "Pairwise kidney exchange," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 125(2), pages 151-188, December.
    3. Gary S. Becker & Julio Jorge Elías, 2007. "Introducing Incentives in the Market for Live and Cadaveric Organ Donations," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 21(3), pages 3-24, Summer.
    4. Alvin E. Roth & Tayfun Sönmez & M. Utku Ünver, 2004. "Kidney Exchange," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 119(2), pages 457-488.
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    7. Sass, Tim R & Zimmerman, Paul R, 2000. "Motorcycle Helmet Laws and Motorcyclist Fatalities," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 18(3), pages 195-215, November.
    8. David H. Howard, 2007. "Producing Organ Donors," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 21(3), pages 25-36, Summer.
    9. Alvin E. Roth, 2007. "Repugnance as a Constraint on Markets," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 21(3), pages 37-58, Summer.
    10. Imbens, Guido W & Angrist, Joshua D, 1994. "Identification and Estimation of Local Average Treatment Effects," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(2), pages 467-475, March.
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    Cited by:

    1. Anderson, D. Mark & Sandholt, Sina, 2016. "Booster Seats and Traffic Fatalities among Children," IZA Discussion Papers 10071, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    2. Callison, Kevin & Levin, Adelin, 2016. "Donor registries, first-person consent legislation, and the supply of deceased organ donors," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(C), pages 70-75.
    3. Bilgel, Fırat & Galle, Brian, 2015. "Financial incentives for kidney donation: A comparative case study using synthetic controls," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(C), pages 103-117.

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