Organ Donation Shortage - Can Rewards Help Out?

University essay from Handelshögskolan i Stockholm/Institutionen för nationalekonomi

Abstract: For decades economic literature has examined the shortage in donated cadaveric organs prevalent all over the world. We take an attempt at finding a solution by taking advantage of the special design of the organ donor card in Germany, with which one can both affirm and dissent organ donation. We conducted an experiment in order to assess the efficacy of monetary and non-monetary incentives in motivating people to fill in the German organ donor card and in increasing the number of organ donors. In the first treatment people were asked whether they would be willing to fill out an officially valid organ donor card without any external incentives. In treatments two and three individuals were offered 10 in cash or a donation to charity of 10 in exchange for filling out the card, respectively. We find that a monetary incentive can significantly increase both the number of filled in organ donor cards and the number of organ donors, whereas a payment to charity cannot. The charity incentive even results in slightly less organ donors than the no-reward scenario. This might follow the theory of moral licensing, which says that good actions can free us to do something bad.

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