Paying for Bodies, But Not for Organs

6 Pages Posted: 20 Jan 2007

See all articles by David E. Harrington

David E. Harrington

Kenyon College - Department of Economics

Edward A. Sayre

University of Southern Mississippi


It is well known that federal law prohibits any kind of payment for transplant organs. But few people realize that cadaver markets do allow payments, and the cadaver market, unlike the organ market, experiences great surpluses. The asymmetric treatment of whole and partial body donations is ethically indefensible and economically inefficient, fueling medical school scandals and causing cadavers and organs to be wasted. We recommend that donors of organs be offered modest payments, similar to what they would have received had they donated the whole body. More generally, we believe that human dignity would be enhanced by relying more heavily on consensual systems of organ and body donations based on market incentives.

Keywords: organ donation, cavers, organ harvesting, organ selling, government regulations, safe tissue act, organ transplant act, whole body donations, organ shortages, funeral regulations, david e. harrington, edward a. sayre, paying for bodies but not for organs

JEL Classification: D74, D78, D84, I18, I19, K11, K23, K42,

Suggested Citation

Harrington, David E. and Sayre, Edward A., Paying for Bodies, But Not for Organs. Regulation, Vol 29, No.4, Winter 2006-2007 pp. 14-19. Available at SSRN:

David E. Harrington (Contact Author)

Kenyon College - Department of Economics ( email )

Gambier, OH 43022
United States
720-427-5293 (Phone)

Edward A. Sayre

University of Southern Mississippi ( email )

118 College Drive
Box 5108
Hattiesburg, MS 39406
United States

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