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Dynamic Kidney Exchange

55 Pages Posted: 11 Mar 2007 Last revised: 17 Dec 2009

M. Utku Ünver

Boston College - Department of Economics

Date Written: March 11, 2007


We study how barter exchanges should be conducted through a centralized mechanism in a dynamically evolving agent pool with time- and compatibility-based preferences. We find the dynamically optimal two-way and multi-way exchange mechanisms that maximize total discounted exchange surplus. Recently several live-donor kidney exchange programs were established to swap incompatible donors of end-stage kidney disease patients. Since kidney exchange is a special instance of our more general model, dynamically optimal kidney exchange mechanisms are characterized as corollaries. We make policy recommendations using simulations.

Keywords: Dynamic exchange, barter exchange, kidney exchange, matching, market design, dynamic optimization, Markov process

JEL Classification: C78, C70, D78, C61

Suggested Citation

Ünver, M. Utku, Dynamic Kidney Exchange (March 11, 2007). Review of Economic Studies, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN:

Utku Unver (Contact Author)

Boston College - Department of Economics ( email )

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United States
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