One Chance in a Million: Altruism and the Bone Marrow Registry

39 Pages Posted: 20 Sep 2007

See all articles by Theodore C. Bergstrom

Theodore C. Bergstrom

University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) - Department of Economics; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Rod Garratt

University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) - Department of Economics

Damien Sheehan-Connor

Wesleyan University Department of Economics

Date Written: September 2007

Abstract

Transplants of donated stem cells save the lives of many patients with blood diseases. Donation is somewhat painful, but rarely has lasting adverse effects. Patients can accept transplants only from donors with compatible immune systems. Those lacking a sibling match must seek donations from the population at large. The probability that two persons of the same race are compatible is less than 1/10,000. Health authorities maintain a registry of several million genetically-tested potential donors who have agreed to donate if asked. We study the peculiar structure of voluntary public good provision represented by the registry, and compare the marginal benefits and marginal costs of expanding the registry.

JEL Classification: D64, H51

Suggested Citation

Bergstrom, Theodore C. and Garratt, Rod and Sheehan-Connor, Damien, One Chance in a Million: Altruism and the Bone Marrow Registry (September 2007). CESifo Working Paper Series No. 2090. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1015730

Theodore C. Bergstrom (Contact Author)

University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) - Department of Economics ( email )

2127 North Hall
Santa Barbara, CA 93106
United States

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

Rod Garratt

University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) - Department of Economics ( email )

2127 North Hall
Santa Barbara, CA 93106
United States

Damien Sheehan-Connor

Wesleyan University Department of Economics ( email )

238 Church Street
Middletown, CT 06459-0007
United States

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