The claim about donor survival is more based off of Segev, 2010, which does use controls matched on health (http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=185508&resultclick=1). (There was an editing error in the footnote above, sorry about that).
Good point about the age-matching, which I'll update our website to reflect. Agree that the Mjoen piece definitely has value (which is why we included it), but there are other reasonable criticisms (like the controls all being drawn from the same region and from an earlier time period) raised as well.
The U.S. is third in the world for deceased donation per million persons. The difference between us and the #1 (Spain, which has a suite of good deceased donation policies, one of which is a version of presumed consent) can be explained by our generally not accepting deceased donors over 70 and Spain doing so. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/lt.23684/full
Also, the kidney shortfall is 20K/yr. Total deceased donor kidneys are about 12K per year. Opinions differ as to what percent of those eligible to be deceased donors donate, but the official go... (read more)
If you were try to adapt the EA message to be more successful in the Spanish context, how do you think you'd do so?
To follow up on Alexander's point a bit, I think applying the charitable benefits standard to non-charity decisions leads to some really weird results. For example, say someone who identifies as an EA chooses to give 10% of her income each year to a GW charity, and she’s choosing employment between being a schoolteacher for $50K a year or a job that’s not especially prosocial that pays $55K a year; say she has no innate preference between them, prefers to make more money all things being equal, and that being a schoolteacher would be worthmore than the $50... (read more)
In terms of opt-out, I only know the data in the U.S. but basically while it might be a good idea, it's unlikely to yield significant increases: it seems like such an attractive decision architecture/nudge type intervention, but when you dig in, it's a much closer call (which is why Sunstein and Thaler don't recommend it, for example).
The current American system is more of a hybrid than clear opt-in. Right now, about 75% of those who could become deceased donors ultimately consent to do so (about 40-50% are registered as organ donors and of the remainder,... (read more)
(re: political credibility) -- Ehhh, let's say you become a doctor because you think healthcare is important. You want to help people and by being a doctor, you hope to have the status to advocate politically for expanding access to healthcare. I don't see how your authority is impugned because of your desire for advocacy. I think what you're going for is the loss of authority if you have an ulterior motive that cuts against the stated motive -- e.g. if you join a church for political gain but don't believe in god. As a kidney donor, though, your desire to give and desire to change policy are aligned.
Austen, I see your point but think you have the wrong model of how social movements work. Basically any successful social movement I can think of (e.g. civil rights, women's rights, gay rights) has had extremists who were important to the movement and has included acts of extremism that were historically important to the movement's self-identity. More to the point, it's impossible to know ahead of time what acts will end up considered extremist, so it's silly to criticize an action that aligns with the movement's values as being against the movement becaus... (read more)
Politically, it probably wouldn't be feasible to allow organ sales, but there are a lot of intermediate policy alternatives likely sufficient to end the shortage by supporting donors better (just to start, you could pay lost wages and travel, but you could also provide health insurance, tax credits, or an annuity to donors). If you think that's a good idea (we think it would save about 160K QALYs annually), donating your kidney gives you unique moral authority and power in advocating that policy.
Also you might be interested in signing this open letter if you support benefit for donors --http://www.ustransplantopenletter.org/home.html
Got it! Thanks for explaining that, and I do think we wrote it in a confusing way (sorry!). There are two separate facts --1. the half-life for all living donor grafts is 14.2 years (figure 6.7 here http://srtr.transplant.hrsa.gov/annual_reports/2012/pdf/01_kidney_13.pdf). 2. Expected lifespan for those who receive any kidney transplant between the years of 60 and 64 in particular is 14.0 years. (See p. 266 here -- http://www.usrds.org/2013/pdf/v2_ch5_13.pdf).
Expected lifespan can vary from graft survival half-life both because half-lives are different fr... (read more)
Bernadette, maybe I'm misunderstanding your point, but the 14 year estimate is for patients 60-64 who receive a transplant (this might be a bit unclear as we wrote it though). Patients 60-64 on dialysis can expect 5.1 years of life, so that gives a 8.9 differential, which when you discount years by disability comes to 8.29 or about 8, which is our (admittedly imprecise) estimate. We don't think it's skewed in an optimistic direction though. To be clear, the 14-year overall estimate is 8 per transplant * 1.75 per marginal transplants created by starting a c... (read more)