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Understanding repugnance: Implications for public policy

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  • Julio Elias
  • Nicola Lacetera
  • Mario Macis

Abstract

Understanding the influence of moral repugnance on social decisions is challenging, particularly because in several cases not all of the relevant policy options can be observed. In a series of recent studies, we designed survey experiments to identify individual preferences in morally controversial transactions, with focus on the provision of payments to kidney donors in the United States (Elias, Lacetera and Macis 2015a-b, 2016a). We found that providing information on how a price mechanism can help alleviate the organ shortage significantly reduces opposition toward payments for organs. Moreover, we quantified the trade-off that people make between the repugnance and the efficiency of alternative kidney procurement systems. In Elias, Lacetera, Macis and Salardi (2017), finally, we analyzed how the regulation of controversial activities is related to economic development. This paper summarizes these findings and analyzes their main implications for public policy and market design.

Suggested Citation

  • Julio Elias & Nicola Lacetera & Mario Macis, 2017. "Understanding repugnance: Implications for public policy," CEMA Working Papers: Serie Documentos de Trabajo. 614, Universidad del CEMA.
  • Handle: RePEc:cem:doctra:614
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. 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.
    2. Roth, Alvin E. & Leider, Stephen, 2010. "Kidneys For Sale: Who Disapproves, and Why?," Scholarly Articles 5128483, Harvard University Department of Economics.
    3. Ilyana Kuziemko & Michael I. Norton & Emmanuel Saez & Stefanie Stantcheva, 2015. "How Elastic Are Preferences for Redistribution? Evidence from Randomized Survey Experiments," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 105(4), pages 1478-1508, April.
    4. Alvin E. Roth, 2007. "Repugnance as a Constraint on Markets," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 21(3), pages 37-58, Summer.
    5. Uri Gneezy, 2005. "Deception: The Role of Consequences," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(1), pages 384-394, March.
    6. Julio J. Elías & Nicola Lacetera & Mario Macis & Paola Salardi, 2017. "Economic Development and the Regulation of Morally Contentious Activities," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 107(5), pages 76-80, May.
    7. Elias, Julio & Lacetera, Nicola & Macis, Mario, 2016. "Efficiency-Morality Trade-Offs in Repugnant Transactions: A Choice Experiment," IZA Discussion Papers 10187, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    8. Rajna Gibson & Carmen Tanner & Alexander F. Wagner, 2013. "Preferences for Truthfulness: Heterogeneity among and within Individuals," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(1), pages 532-548, February.
    9. Luigi Guiso & Paola Sapienza & Luigi Zingales, 2006. "Does Culture Affect Economic Outcomes?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 20(2), pages 23-48, Spring.
    10. Julio J. Elias & Nicola Lacetera & Mario Macis, 2015. "Sacred Values? The Effect of Information on Attitudes toward Payments for Human Organs," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 105(5), pages 361-365, May.
    11. Julio J Elias & Nicola Lacetera & Mario Macis, 2015. "Markets and Morals: An Experimental Survey Study," PLOS ONE, Public Library of Science, vol. 10(6), pages 1-13, June.
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