The Park Place Economist


Over 6,500 individuals died in 2012 waiting for an organ transplant in the United States. In the context of economics, this phenomenon is called a shortage, and in the world of the affected, this shortage is the difference between life and death. Ever since the passage of the National Organ Transplant Act (NOTA), which prohibits the sale of organs for human transplantation, economists, philosophers, public policy experts, religious leaders, and others have debated the ethical and effective standing of the law. Increasing the supply of organs by introducing monetary incentives to donors (suppliers) is a recent development in the field of economics. The concept has met resistance on ethical and empirical grounds. Regarding ethics, the use of monetary incentives has been criticized for potentially victimizing the poor, leading to the advancement of a black market, and removing the critical role of altruism within society. This paper does not undermine these valid concerns, and it recognizes the importance for the ethical debate. In fact, a small portion of this paper is devoted to these considerations. However, the majority of the paper focuses on empirical findings as they relate to the supply of organ donations.