Glenn DUTCHER, Assistant professor of Economics at Ohio University Ohio University
Subjective expectations and uncertainty: Why do doctors accept some deceased donor kidneys and not others?
Policymakers focus on identifying allocation mechanisms to reduce the discard rate of deceased-donor kidneys; however, many leading solutions assume strategic behavior with full information, which could lead to costly intervention with no behavior change. We constructed a novel data set to investigate the accuracy of surgeon beliefs. We then study the extent that inaccurate beliefs factored into doctors' decision to accept a deceased-donor kidney between January 1, 2016, and December 31, 2020. Overall, we found that doctors' beliefs about patient outcomes based on deceased-donor kidney quality were heterogeneous across doctors, while patient outcomes did not differ. We then showed that doctors' beliefs predicted acceptance rates. Those who deviated from the objective data more were less likely to accept a deceased-donor kidney. Our results suggest that doctors lack some of the appropriate information to behave strategically and caution the implementation of proposed mechanisms because the underlying assumptions used in their analysis may not hold.