Markets for Organs: Myths and Misconceptions

Posted: 19 Sep 2002

See all articles by David L. Kaserman

David L. Kaserman

Auburn University, College of Business, Department of Economics (Deceased)


A severe and chronic shortage of cadaveric organs available for transplantation has now persisted for over three decades. That shortage, in turn, has spawned an extensive literature debating the merits of various alternative policy remedies. Among these, perhaps the most promising is a lifting of the legal ban on cadaveric organ purchases, thereby allowing markets to form and organ prices to rise to market-clearing levels. That solution, however, has not been well received by many writing in this area. The opposition that has surfaced, however, appears to be due, at least in part, to some fundamental misconceptions regarding some basic economic concepts and how those concepts might apply to the operation of organ markets. Four such misconceptions that have plagued the literature in this area are identified here and the relevant economic principles are clarified.

JEL Classification: I11, K4, L5

Suggested Citation

Kaserman, David L., Markets for Organs: Myths and Misconceptions. Journal of Contemporary Health Law and Policy, Vol. 18, 2002. Available at SSRN:

David L. Kaserman (Contact Author)

Auburn University, College of Business, Department of Economics (Deceased)


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