NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
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Paying It Backward and Forward: Expanding Access to Convalescent Plasma Therapy Through Market Design

Scott Duke Kominers, Parag A. Pathak, Tayfun Sönmez, M. Utku Ünver

NBER Working Paper No. 27143
Issued in May 2020
NBER Program(s):Health Economics, Industrial Organization, Public Economics

COVID-19 convalescent plasma (CCP) therapy is currently a leading treatment for COVID-19. At present, there is a shortage of CCP relative to demand. We develop and analyze a model of centralized CCP allocation that incorporates both donation and distribution. In order to increase CCP supply, we introduce a mechanism that utilizes two incentive schemes, respectively based on principles of “paying it backward” and “paying it forward.” Under the first scheme, CCP donors obtain treatment vouchers that can be transferred to patients of their choosing. Under the latter scheme, patients obtain priority for CCP therapy in exchange for a future pledge to donate CCP if possible. We show that in steady-state, both principles generally increase overall treatment rates for all patients—not just those who are voucher-prioritized or pledged to donate. Our results also hold under certain conditions if a fraction of CCP is reserved for patients who participate in clinical trials. Finally, we examine the implications of pooling blood types on the efficiency and equity of CCP distribution.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w27143

 
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