The Human and Economic Dimensions of Altruism: The Case of Organ Transplantation

48 Pages Posted: 3 Feb 2008  

Richard A. Epstein

New York University School of Law; Stanford University - Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace; University of Chicago - Law School

Abstract

This paper analyzes three issues critical to understanding the chronic shortage in organs. Section 2 develops a simple economic model of altruism that helps explain how markets with altruistic participants operate in ways similar to ordinary economic markets, but produce an equilibrium position in which more organs are transferred at lower cash prices. Section 3 examines and rejects the various arguments used to undermine the neoclassical arguments in the first section. Section 4 looks at ways to expand the supply of organs: directed donations within families and among friends, solicited organs via matchingdonors.com, donor-recipient pairs, and LifeSharers.

Keywords: altruism, crowding out, kidney transplant, paired organ donations

Suggested Citation

Epstein, Richard A., The Human and Economic Dimensions of Altruism: The Case of Organ Transplantation. Journal of Legal Studies, Forthcoming; U of Chicago Law & Economics, Olin Working Paper No. 385. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1087143

Richard A. Epstein (Contact Author)

New York University School of Law ( email )

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New York, NY 10012
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(212) 992-8858 (Phone)
(212) 995-4894 (Fax)

Stanford University - Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace

Stanford, CA 94305-6010
United States

University of Chicago - Law School ( email )

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Chicago, IL 60637
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773-702-9563 (Phone)
773-702-0730 (Fax)

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