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Altruism Exchanges and the Kidney Shortage


Stephen J. Choi


New York University School of Law

G. Mitu Gulati


Duke University - School of Law

Eric A. Posner


University of Chicago - Law School

January 16, 2013

University of Chicago Institute for Law & Economics Olin Research Paper No. 630
NYU Law and Economics Research Paper No. 13-03

Abstract:     
Not enough kidneys are donated each year to satisfy the demand from patients who need them. Strong moral and legal norms interfere with market-based solutions. To improve the supply of kidneys without violating these norms, we propose legal reforms that would strengthen the incentive to donate based on altruistic motives. We propose that donors be permitted to donate kidneys in exchange for commitments by recipients or their benefactors to engage in charitable activity or to donate funds to charities chosen by donors. And we propose that charities be permitted to create Altruism Exchanges, which would permit large numbers of altruists to make charitable exchanges with each other, including but not limited to kidney donations. Altruism Exchanges would solve two significant problems with the current system of voluntary kidney donations: the risk of default and the lack of liquidity.

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Date posted: January 17, 2013 ; Last revised: February 24, 2013

Suggested Citation

Choi, Stephen J. and Gulati, G. Mitu and Posner, Eric A., Altruism Exchanges and the Kidney Shortage (January 16, 2013). University of Chicago Institute for Law & Economics Olin Research Paper No. 630; NYU Law and Economics Research Paper No. 13-03. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2202311 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2202311

Contact Information

Stephen J. Choi (Contact Author)
New York University School of Law ( email )
40 Washington Square South
New York, NY 10012-1099
United States
Gaurang Mitu Gulati
Duke University - School of Law ( email )
Box 90360
Duke School of Law
Durham, NC 27708
United States
Eric A. Posner
University of Chicago - Law School ( email )
1111 E. 60th St.
Chicago, IL 60637
United States
773-702-0425 (Phone)
773-702-0730 (Fax)
HOME PAGE: http://www.law.uchicago.edu/faculty/posner-e/
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