July 3, 2012
Tax Policy and Living Organ Donations
Atheendar Venkataramani (Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts General Hospital), Erika G. Martin (SUNY-Albany, Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government), Anitha Vijayan (Washington University, Department of Medicine) & Jason Wellen (Washington University, Department of Surgery), The Impact of Tax Policies on Living Organ Donations in the United States:
In an effort to increase living organ donation, 15 states passed tax deductions and 1 a tax credit to help defray potential medical, lodging and wage loss costs between 2004 and 2008. To assess the impact of these policies on living donation rates, we used a differences-in-differences strategy which compares the pre- and post-legislation change in living donations in states that passed legislation against the same change in those states that did not. We found no statistically significant effect of these tax policies on donation rates. Furthermore, we found no evidence of any lagged effects, differential impacts by gender, race or donor relationship, or impacts on deceased donation. Possible hypotheses to explain our findings are: the cash value of the tax deduction may be too low to defray costs faced by donors, lack of public awareness about the existence of these policies, and that states that were proactive enough to pass tax policy laws may have already depleted donor pools with previous interventions.
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