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Do Defaults Save Lives?

Eric J. Johnson

Columbia Business School - Marketing

Daniel G. Goldstein

Microsoft Research New York City; London Business School

Nov 21, 2003

Science, Vol. 302, pp. 1338-1339, 2003

The article discusses how should policy-makers choose defaults regarding organ donors. First, consider that every policy must have a no-action default, and defaults impose physical, cognitive, and, in the case of donation, emotional costs on those who must change their status. Second, note that defaults can lead to two kinds of misclassification, willing donors who are not identified or people who become donors against their wishes. Changes in defaults could increase donations in the United States of additional thousands of donors a year. Because each donor can be used for about three transplants, the consequences are substantial in lives saved.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 2

Keywords: organ donors, donation of organs, donation of tissues, transplantation

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Date posted: January 9, 2009  

Suggested Citation

Johnson, Eric J. and Goldstein, Daniel G., Do Defaults Save Lives? (Nov 21, 2003). Science, Vol. 302, pp. 1338-1339, 2003. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1324774

Contact Information

Eric J. Johnson (Contact Author)
Columbia Business School - Marketing ( email )
New York, NY 10027
United States

Daniel G. Goldstein
Microsoft Research New York City ( email )
641 Avenue of Americas
New York, NY 10011
United States
London Business School ( email )
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References:  32
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