Don't Take 'No' For An Answer: An Experiment With Actual Organ Donor Registrations
Over 10,000 people in the U.S. die each year while waiting for an organ. Attempts to increase organ transplantation have focused on changing the registration question from an opt-in frame to an active choice frame. We analyze this change in California and show it decreased registration rates. Similarly, a "field in the lab" experiment run on actual organ donor registration decisions finds no increase in registrations resulting from an active choice frame. In addition, individuals are more likely to support donating the organs of a deceased who did not opt-in than one who said "no" in an active choice frame.
The authors thank Frank Delmonico and Sean Fitzpatrick of the New England Organ Bank, Brad Makaiau of Donate Life California, Greg Segal of Organize; Kristen Grabarz, Alexander Izydorczyk, Julia Peng, and Linda Yao for excellent Research Assistant work; and the staff at the Computer Lab for Experimental Research at Harvard Business School and the Wharton Behavioral Lab at The Wharton School. The authors gratefully acknowledge financial support from the National Science Foundation, Harvard Business School, Stanford University, and the Wharton School. The views expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Bureau of Economic Research.