Macis Leads Panel on Human Organ Sales



More than 100,000 people in the United States await organs for transplant. For most of them, the wait won’t end anytime soon.

Through the first five months of 2017, about 5,000 organs were donated, and some 11,000 transplant operations took place, according to the nonprofit United Network for Organ Sharing, based in Richmond, Virginia. 

Clearly the demand far exceeds the supply. Long waits and shortages of available organs for transplant are typical not just in the U.S. but also around the world.

So economists, who wrestle with questions of supply and demand, have wondered whether a market for human organs, particularly kidneys, might emerge in a form that society would consider morally acceptable. (Organ sales have been banned in the U.S. for 33 years. Iran is the world’s only nation with a legal, regulated system of such sales.)

Carey Business School Associate Professor Mario Macis (right) is among those economists who have made a study of the issue. In early June at the Trento (Italy) Festival of Economics, Macis led a panel discussion titled “Markets for the Human Body: Exploitation or Opportunity?”

The panel included three other experts on organ sales ― Stanford University professor and 2012 Nobel laureate in economics Alvin Roth; transplant surgeon and Thomas Jefferson University professor Ignazio Marino; and Associate Professor Nicola Lacetera of the University of Toronto, a frequent collaborator with Macis on research related to payment for donations of blood and organs. (Coverage of one of their studies can be read here.)  

The discussion in Trento, which touched on subjects including surrogacy, the harvesting of organs from executed prisoners, the “repugnant” nature of certain financial transactions, and Iran’s system of organ sales, can be viewed at this link. (A button at the bottom-right corner of the screen allows for a version in English or Italian.)

Posted on June 9, 2017 In MS in Health Care Management, Faculty Story, News Item, Research Story, Alumni, Current Students, Faculty, International Students, New Students, Partners, Prospective Students, Staff