April 10, 2008
Jagdeep and I have been otherwise occupied for a while -- he with health issues; I with a dean search. But we're both eager to get back to regular blogging. There will be some changes coming in the near future.
I've just read a wonderful short article on the power of different default rules: Eric J. Johnson & Daniel Goldstein, "Do Defaults Save Lives?," 302 Science 1338 (21 November 2003). The subject of the article is the power of opt-in and opt-out rules for organ donation. For example, in Denmark, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and Germany the default rule is opt-in: your organs are not to be donated unless you affirmatively take steps to indicate that intent (by, for instance, signing the back of your driver's license in front of two witnesses -- the rule in the State of Illinois). The rate of donation in each of those four countries is 4.25, 27.5, 17.17, and 12.
In contrast, in Austria, Belgium, France, Hungary, Poland, Portugal, and Sweden the default rule for organ donation is an opt-out rule: your organs are presumed to be donatable unless you affirmatively take steps to indicate that they are not available. Here are the rates of donation in those seven countries: 99.98, 98, 99.91, 99.97. 99.5, 99.64, and 85.9.
The graphics in the article indicated these and other differences are very powerful. I intend to use them in my law-and-economics course next year.
April 10, 2008 | Permalink
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