How Do You Decide Who Gets Lungs?   1 comment

ashleyLink: http://www.npr.org/blogs/money/2012/05/18/153004617/how-do-you-decide-who-gets-lungs

Summary: This podcast outlines the organ market or rather the non-existent, scarce organ market that doctors unfortunately have to face when they put their patients on an organ waiting list.

Original air date: May 18, 2012

Length: 15:11 min

Discussion Prompt (1): Consider the ten principles of economics that Mankiw discussions in Chapter 1.  How do they relate to the situation in this podcast?

Discussion Prompt (2): This podcast gives examples of how different systems for allocating lungs create incentives (for doctors, for patients) and thus impact choice.  How do you see that incentives, choices and outcomes are impacted if they allocation is based on: whoever is sickest? What if they allocation system is based on who is on the waiting list first?  What if the system was a market-based system based on ability to pay? Use examples from the podcast or your own thinking that expands beyond the podcast content.

Follow-up Prompt: You all make some good observations here and lead me to think that it is also important to think about the goal of the system – is the goal to be fair? is the goal for patients not to have to wait? is the goal to have the most number of patients live ? Is the goal to save the sickest?  How do you think that understanding the ‘goal’ helps us to see the problems and options for allocation?

Written Assignment Prompt: The podcast mentions doctors signing up patients for lung transplants before they need or are sick enough for them. What are the ethical issues associated with such a decision? Why don’t we see markets at work in this scenario? How might you create an alternate system for allocating this precious item?

One response to “How Do You Decide Who Gets Lungs?

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  1. Pingback: Linking podcasts to Mankiw, N.G., Principles of Microeconomics | audioecon

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