Document Type


Publication Date



The supply of deceased donor organs is a limiting factor for transplantation based therapies. This research utilizes a laboratory experiment to evaluate the effectiveness of alternative public policies targeted at increasing the rate of deceased donor organ donation. The experiment includes treatments across different default choices (opt-in versus opt-out) and organ allocation rules (without versus with priority rule) inspired by the donor registration systems applied in different countries. Furthermore, the experiment includes a controlled treatment to measure the effects of a neutral versus descriptive framing of the decision task. Our results indicate that the opt-out system with priority rule generates the largest increase in organ donation relative to an opt-in only program. However, sizeable gains are achievable using either a priority rule or optout program separately, with the opt-out rule generating approximately 80% of the benefits achieved under a priority rule program.


To learn more about the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies and ExCEN Working Papers Series, visit and