Random thoughts of an economist

An ipad for a kidney. Anyone?

Posted in Economics, Help the poor, Regulation, teaching by kafuwong on May 30, 2012

Read from the news that some teenagers sell their kidneys at the price of US$3500 per kidney in China (http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2012/04/07/150195037/chinese-teen-sells-kidney-for-ipad-and-iphone).  The kidney trade is illegal in China and many other countries.  The illegal trade exists because there is a great demand for kidney transport and there is only few donations.  To rely on donations, a lot of patients will die before they receive any transplant.  Some of these patients are willing to pay a lot to get kidneys.  What is life worth?

The high willingness to pay by the dying patients invites illegal kidney trade.  Teenagers are easy targets.  Some want an iPad but they cannot afford it.  Selling their kidney gives them quick money.   Sad.  Isn’t it?  I hate those people taking advantage of the ignorance of the teenager.  Do you? 

Given the great demand for kidneys and the limited supply (mainly through donations), the market price should be 1000 iPads per kidney!

Imagine that kidney trade is made legal.   Eliminate the middleman.   What do we expect to happen in this kidney market?