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Paying for Kidneys? A Randomized Survey and Choice Experiment

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  • Julio J. Elias
  • Nicola Lacetera
  • Mario Macis

Abstract

Legislation and public policies are often the result of competition and compromise between different views and interests. In several cases, strongly held moral beliefs voiced by societal groups lead lawmakers to prohibit certain transactions or to prevent them from occurring through markets. However, there is limited evidence about the specific nature of the general population’s opposition to using prices in such contentious transactions. We conducted a randomized survey with 2,666 American residents to study preferences for legalizing payments to kidney donors. We found strong polarization, with many participants supporting or opposing payments regardless of potential transplant gains. However, about 18 percent of respondents would switch to favoring payments for sufficiently large increases in transplants. Preferences for compensation have strong moral foundations; participants especially reject direct payments by patients, which they find would violate principles of fairness. We corroborate the interpretation of our findings with a choice experiment of a costly decision to donate money to a foundation that supports donor compensation.

Suggested Citation

  • Julio J. Elias & Nicola Lacetera & Mario Macis, 2019. "Paying for Kidneys? A Randomized Survey and Choice Experiment," NBER Working Papers 25581, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:25581
    Note: HC HE PE POL
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D01 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Microeconomic Behavior: Underlying Principles
    • D47 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Market Design
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • D64 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Altruism; Philanthropy; Intergenerational Transfers
    • I11 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Analysis of Health Care Markets

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