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NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
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Paying for Kidneys? A Randomized Survey and Choice Experiment

Julio J. Elias, Nicola Lacetera, Mario Macis

NBER Working Paper No. 25581
Issued in February 2019, Revised in February 2019
NBER Program(s):Health Care, Health Economics, Public Economics, Political Economy

Legislation and public policies are often the result of competition and compromise between different views and interests. In several cases, strongly held moral beliefs voiced by societal groups lead lawmakers to prohibit certain transactions or to prevent them from occurring through markets. However, there is limited evidence about the specific nature of the general population’s opposition to using prices in such contentious transactions. We conducted a randomized survey with 2,666 American residents to study preferences for legalizing payments to kidney donors. We found strong polarization, with many participants supporting or opposing payments regardless of potential transplant gains. However, about 18 percent of respondents would switch to favoring payments for sufficiently large increases in transplants. Preferences for compensation have strong moral foundations; participants especially reject direct payments by patients, which they find would violate principles of fairness. We corroborate the interpretation of our findings with a choice experiment of a costly decision to donate money to a foundation that supports donor compensation.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w25581

Published: Julio J. ElĂ­as & Nicola Lacetera & Mario Macis, 2019. "Paying for Kidneys? A Randomized Survey and Choice Experiment," American Economic Review, vol 109(8), pages 2855-2888. citation courtesy of

 
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