Review of Behavioral Economics > Vol 8 > Issue 2

Cash, Funeral Benefits or Nothing at All: How to Incentivize Family Consent for Organ Donation

Vinh Pham, Waseda University, Japan,
Suggested Citation
Vinh Pham (2021), "Cash, Funeral Benefits or Nothing at All: How to Incentivize Family Consent for Organ Donation", Review of Behavioral Economics: Vol. 8: No. 2, pp 147-192.

Publication Date: 19 Jul 2021
© 2021 V. Pham
Behavioral economics,  Experimental economics,  Biases,  Heuristics,  Health economics,  Behavioral decision making,  Public opinion,  Public policy,  Regulation
JEL Codes: D12, D64, I18
Organ donationincentivesprosocial behaviorfactorial survey


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In this article:
1. Introduction 
2. Review of the Issue 
3. Theoretical Framework 
4. Factorial Survey Experiments 
5. Results and Analysis 
6. Conclusion and Discussion 


Incentives, such as funeral expense reimbursements and direct payments for surviving families, have been suggested to increase organ supply from post-mortem donors. Following Heyman and Ariely’s 2004 findings on the impact of gift labeling and reward magnitude on behaviors in altruistic environments, this study utilizes a full factorial survey design to examine subjects’ moral assessment of funeral benefits and cash prizes, and the effects these incentives had on the willingness to provide family consent (WTC). Regression analysis showed that funeral aids, when presented as gifts, outperformed direct payments in all ethical principles. Furthermore, a full funeral service without a revealed value was found to increase WTC by 8.5% from the current system.