Article | American Economic Review | June 2007

Efficient Kidney Exchange: Coincidence of Wants in a Structured Market

by A. E. Roth, Tayfun Sonmez and M. Utku Unver


Patients needing kidney transplants may have donors who cannot donate to them because of blood or tissue incompatibility. Incompatible patient-donor pairs can exchange donor kidneys with other pairs only when there is a "double coincidence of wants." Developing infrastructure to perform 3-way as well as 2-way exchanges will have a substantial effect on the number of transplants that can be arranged. Larger than 3-way exchanges have less impact on efficiency. In a general model of type-compatible exchanges, the size of the largest exchanges required to achieve efficiency equals the number of types.

Keywords: Organizational Structure; Size; Emotions; Human Needs; Health Care and Treatment; Health Testing and Trials; Infrastructure; Supply Chain Management; Fairness; Performance Improvement; Health Industry;


Roth, A. E., Tayfun Sonmez, and M. Utku Unver. "Efficient Kidney Exchange: Coincidence of Wants in a Structured Market." American Economic Review 97, no. 3 (June 2007): 828–851.