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Dont Take No For an Answer: An Experiment with Actual Organ Donor Registrations

August 2014

Judd B. Kessler, Alvin E. Roth


This experiment tests whether being presented with an active choice increases organ donor registrations. Rather than simply being provided the option to opt in, a subgroup of people were instead presented with a choice of whether they wanted to register as an organ donor; they were forced to select either “yes” or “no.” Results show that this method provided no statistical difference in terms of organ donor registration rate.

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Policy Implications

Such a program would not have the intended effects of increasing organ donorship, but authors suggest it may even have a counter-effect as next of kin were may be less likely to offer donations from a family member who actively chose to abstain from organ donations. Other results have shown people are much less likely to opt-out of organ donorship if automatically registered. This may prove a more effective policy of increase organ donation registrations.

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