Fair Chances/Best Outcome Problem

Definition

Health Economics

  • A conflict that has been much debated by medical ethicists. It may be illustrated by a case of two people awaiting an organ transplant. There is no ethically relevant differentiating factor between them and each will live only one week without the transplant. With the transplant, however, one is expected to live two years and the other 20 years. Who should get the transplant: should they have an equal chance (and toss the equivalent of a fair coin) or does the second person's greater gain dominate? Economists tend not to struggle with dilemmas of this sort.
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