Efficiency-Morality Trade-Offs in Repugnant Transactions: A Choice Experiment
91 Pages Posted: 9 Nov 2016
Date Written: September 27, 2016
Societies prohibit many transactions considered morally repugnant, although potentially efficiency-enhancing. We conducted an online choice experiment to characterize preferences for the morality and efficiency of payments to kidney donors. Preferences were heterogeneous, ranging from deontological to strongly consequentialist; the median respondent would support payments by a public agency if they increased the annual kidney supply by six percentage points, and private transactions for a thirty percentage-point increase. Fairness concerns drive this difference. Our findings suggest that cost-benefit considerations affect the acceptance of morally controversial transactions, and imply that trial studies of the effects of payments would inform the public debate.
Keywords: repugnant transactions, efficiency, morality, markets, preferences
JEL Classification: C910, D010, D630, D640, I110
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