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Enhancing the Efficiency of and Equity in Transplant Organ Allocation via Incentivized Exchange


  • Tayfun Sönmez

    (Boston College)

  • M. Utku Ünver

    (Boston College)


Within the last decade kidney exchange has become a mainstream paradigm to increase the number of kidney transplants. However, compatible pairs do not participate, and the full benefit from exchange can be realized only if they do. In this paper, we propose a new incentive scheme that relies on incentivizing participation of compatible pairs in exchange via insurance for the patient for a future renal failure. Efficiency and equity analyses of this scheme are conducted and compared with efficiency and equity outcomes of live donation and living donor organ exchange. We also present the potential role of such an incentive scheme to strengthen the national kidney exchange system.

Suggested Citation

  • Tayfun Sönmez & M. Utku Ünver, 2015. "Enhancing the Efficiency of and Equity in Transplant Organ Allocation via Incentivized Exchange," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 868, Boston College Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:boc:bocoec:868
    Note: A later version of this paper appears as WP 931.

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Stergios Athanassoglou & Jay Sethuraman, 2011. "House allocation with fractional endowments," International Journal of Game Theory, Springer;Game Theory Society, vol. 40(3), pages 481-513, August.
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    Cited by:

    1. Scott Duke Kominers & Parag A. Pathak & Tayfun Sönmez & M. Utku Ünver, 2020. "Paying It Backward and Forward: Expanding Access to Convalescent Plasma Therapy Through Market Design," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 1007, Boston College Department of Economics.
    2. Tayfun Sönmez & M. Utku Ünver & M. Bumin Yenmez, 2020. "Incentivized Kidney Exchange," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 110(7), pages 2198-2224, July.
    3. Nicolò, Antonio & Rodríguez-Álvarez, Carmelo, 2017. "Age-based preferences in paired kidney exchange," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 102(C), pages 508-524.
    4. van de Klundert, Joris & van der Hagen, Liana & Markus, Aniek, 2022. "Eliminating transplant waiting time inequities – With an application to kidney allocation in the USA," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 297(3), pages 977-985.
    5. Tayfun Sönmez & M Utku Ünver, 2017. "Market design for living-donor organ exchanges: an economic policy perspective," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press and Oxford Review of Economic Policy Limited, vol. 33(4), pages 676-704.
    6. Sönmez, Tayfun & Ünver, M. Utku & Yılmaz, Özgür, 2018. "How (not) to integrate blood subtyping technology to kidney exchange," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 176(C), pages 193-231.

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    More about this item


    Market design; organ allocation; kidney exchange; equity; efficiency; compatible pairs;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D47 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Market Design
    • C78 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Bargaining Theory; Matching Theory


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