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Bioethics, Rent-Seeking, and Death: Examining the Opposition to Kidney Markets

Bioethics, Rent-Seeking, and Death: Examining the Opposition to Kidney Markets AbstractThe market for kidneys offers a case study of Baptists and Bootleggers. In almost every country, sales are currently illegal and donated organs are allocated by a central planner. Thousands of people die every year, because of the shortage caused by the absence of markets. This paper starts by examining the free-market alternative, and shows that a market would solve the shortage (and thus unnecessary deaths). It then uses gains-from-trade analysis to explain why current vested interests oppose a move to a market, despite the immense potential for saved lives. In a shift to a market, gains from trade would be distributed away from lucky patients (who receive a zero-price kidney) and various industries that benefit from the shortage (dialysis, medical equipment, etc.); these “Bootleggers” form an alliance with “Baptists” (altruistic donors, large segments of the bioethics community, and organ allocation central planners). http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal des Économistes et des Études Humaines de Gruyter

Bioethics, Rent-Seeking, and Death: Examining the Opposition to Kidney Markets

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Publisher
de Gruyter
Copyright
© 2021 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston
ISSN
2153-1552
eISSN
2153-1552
DOI
10.1515/jeeh-2020-0005
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

AbstractThe market for kidneys offers a case study of Baptists and Bootleggers. In almost every country, sales are currently illegal and donated organs are allocated by a central planner. Thousands of people die every year, because of the shortage caused by the absence of markets. This paper starts by examining the free-market alternative, and shows that a market would solve the shortage (and thus unnecessary deaths). It then uses gains-from-trade analysis to explain why current vested interests oppose a move to a market, despite the immense potential for saved lives. In a shift to a market, gains from trade would be distributed away from lucky patients (who receive a zero-price kidney) and various industries that benefit from the shortage (dialysis, medical equipment, etc.); these “Bootleggers” form an alliance with “Baptists” (altruistic donors, large segments of the bioethics community, and organ allocation central planners).

Journal

Journal des Économistes et des Études Humainesde Gruyter

Published: Dec 21, 2021

Keywords: bioethics; kidney markets; organ markets; rent-seeking; D72; I11; I18

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