The Lives of Others: Predicting Donations with Non-Choice Responses

50 Pages Posted: 7 Dec 2015

See all articles by Jeffrey Naecker

Jeffrey Naecker

affiliation not provided to SSRN; Google

Date Written: June 10, 2015


There is significant variation in the percentage of adults registered as organ donors across the United States. Some of this variation may be due to characteristics of the sign-up process, in particular the form that is used when state residents renew or apply for their driver's licenses. However, it is difficult to model and predict the success of the different forms with typical methods, due to the exceptionally large feature space and the limited data. To surmount this problem, I apply a methodology that uses data on subjective non-choice reactions to predict choices. I find that active (ie yes-no) framing of the designation question decreases designation rates by 2-3 percentage points relative to an opt-in framing. Additionally, I show that this methodology can predict behavior in an experimental setting involving social motives where we have good structural benchmarks. More generally, this methodology can be used to perform policy pseudo-experiments where field experiments would prove prohibitively expensive or difficult.

Keywords: organ donation, social preferences, non-choice revealed preference, choice framing, lab experiment

JEL Classification: C91, D12, H31, Q51

Suggested Citation

Naecker, Jeffrey and Naecker, Jeffrey, The Lives of Others: Predicting Donations with Non-Choice Responses (June 10, 2015). Available at SSRN: or

affiliation not provided to SSRN

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