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Prize, not price: reframing rewards for kidney donors
  1. Aksel Braanen Sterri
  1. Department of Philosophy, Classics, History of Art and Ideas, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway
  1. Correspondence to Aksel Braanen Sterri, Department of Philosophy, Classics, History of Art and Ideas, University of Oslo, Oslo 0316, Norway; akselbst{at}


Worldwide 1.2 million people are dying from kidney failure each year, and in the USA alone, approximately 100 000 people are currently on the waiting list for a kidney transplant. One possible solution to the kidney shortage is for governments to pay donors for one of their healthy kidneys and distribute these kidneys according to need. There are, however, compelling objections to this government-monopsony model. To avoid these objections, I propose a small adjustment to the model. I suggest we reward kidney sellers with both money and a ceremony that celebrates their noble act. They should, in other words, receive a prize rather than a price.

  • kidneys
  • allocation of organs/tissues
  • ethics
  • human dignity
  • transplantation

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  • Funding Funded by Norwegian Research Council, What should not be bought and sold? (Project: 259521). The research was also made possible by funding from Fulbright and Professor Morgenstiernes fond who both supported a research stay at the Government Department at Harvard University.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data availability statement There are no data in this work.

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