The Determinants of the Willingness to be an Organ Donor

Naci Mocan, Erdal Tekin

NBER Working Paper No. 11316
Issued in May 2005
NBER Program(s):Health Care, Health Economics

The total value of life lost due to death because of waiting for an organ transplant is greater than $4 billion annually in the United States, and the excess demand for organs has been increasing over time. To shed light on the factors that impact the willingness to donate an organ, we analyze data from the United States and the European Union. The rate of willingness to donate an organ is 38 % among young adults in the U.S., and it is 42 % in Europe. Interesting similarities emerge between the U.S. and Europe regarding the impact of gender, political views and education on the willingness to donate. In the U.S. Blacks, Hispanics and Catholics are less likely to donate. In Europe, individuals who reveal that they are familiar with the rules and regulations governing the donation and transplantation of human organs are more likely to donate. In both data sets individuals who had some encounter with the health care sector –either through a recent emergency room visit (in the U.S.), or perhaps because of a long-standing illness (in the E.U), are more likely to become organ donors. Mother’s education has a separate positive impact.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w11316

Published: Mocan, Naci and Erdal Tekin. “The Determinants of the Willingness to Donate an Organ among Young Adults: Evidence from the United States and the European Union.” Social Science and Medicine 65, 12 (December 2007): 2527-2538.

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