What We Can Learn from Iran

Alex Tabarrok passes on word that only one country in the world has an adequate supply of donor kidneys for transplants: Iran. The reason? They allow compensation for donors.

The government pays donors $1,200 plus limited health insurance coverage. In addition, charitable organizations also provide renumeration to impoverished donors. Thus demonstrating that Iran has something to teach the world about charity as well as about markets. Will wonders never cease? Recipients may also contribute to donor renumeration.

While a little queasy about having desperate families bidding for organs, not to mention the theoretical possibility of incentivizing foul play, I’m inclined to support such a plan. I am, however, highly dubious of data coming out of totalitarian states. For that matter, I’m suspicious that if the Iranian government feels strongly enough about organ donation that they’re offering stipends, the degree to which potential donors have much choice might be somewhat constrained.

FILED UNDER: Economics and Business, Health,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Bithead says:

    Alex Tabarrok passes on word that only one country in the world has an adequate supply of donor kidneys for transplants: Iran. The reason? They allow compensation for donors.

    Yeah, well, there seems something to the idea of there being such economic conditions that people need to sell Kidneys and whatnot to survive.

    Necessity, it is said, is a mother.

  2. hass says:

    Once you see someone die for lack of an organ, you get over any moral qualms quite quickly.
    Incidentally the Iranians have also liberal laws about stem cell research, and have government-subsidized gender change operations.