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Kidney Exchange

Alvin Roth (), M. Utku Ünver and Sönmez, Tayfun
Authors registered in the RePEc Author Service: Tayfun Sönmez () and M. Utku Ünver ()

Scholarly Articles from Harvard University Department of Economics

Abstract: Most transplanted kidneys are from cadavers, but there are also many transplants from live donors. Recently, there have started to be kidney exchanges involving two donor-patient pairs such that each donor cannot give a kidney to the intended recipient because of immunological incompatibility, but each patient can receive a kidney from the other donor. Exchanges are also made in which a donor-patient pair makes a donation to someone waiting for a cadaver kidney, in return for the patient in the pair receiving high priority for a compatible cadaver kidney when one becomes available. There are stringent legal/ethical constraints on how exchanges can be conducted. We explore how larger scale exchanges of these kinds can be arranged efficiently and incentive compatibly, within existing constraints. The problem resembles some of the “housing†problems studied in the mechanism design literature for indivisible goods, with the novel feature that while live donor kidneys can be assigned simultaneously, cadaver kidneys cannot. In addition to studying the theoretical properties of the proposed kidney exchange, we present simulation results suggesting that the welfare gains from larger scale exchange would be substantial, both in increased number of feasible live donation transplants, and in improved match quality of transplanted kidneys.

Date: 2004
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Published in Quarterly Journal of Economics

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Journal Article: Kidney Exchange (2004) Downloads
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Working Paper: Kidney Exchange (2003) Downloads
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