The impact of tax policies on living organ donations in the United States

A. S. Venkataramani, E. G. Martin, A. Vijayan, J. R. Wellen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


In an effort to increase living organ donation, fifteen states passed tax deductions and one 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 that compares the pre- and postlegislation 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. The authors' analysis demonstrates that tax breaks for living donation do not lead to increases in donation rates.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2133-2140
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Transplantation
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2012


  • Living organ donation
  • United States
  • state policy
  • tax


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