As you, the application that caught more my attention from the design economics theory is the kidney exchange. I have never imagined that economics could have any impact on people´s life in this way. The best of all is that it didn´t just stay as an idea, I made some research and I found that Roth´s work has had a real impact on people´s life, and numbers confirm it.
Roth, together with Sönmez and Ünver, launched the New England Program for Kidney Exchange (NEPKE) in New England hospitals in 2004. This is the first kidney exchange program to use optimization in kidney exchanges and allows patients to effectively swap incompatible donors with compatible ones from other donor-patient pairs. This model has improved how kidney transplants are handled in the U.S. too. In fact, in 2003, before the system was implemented there were less than 20 kidneys transplants from live donors in this country. After the system was introduced, this number rose to 34, and it reached 443 in 2012. Nowadays, almost 5,500 transplant patients receive kidneys each year from living donors. Besides the NEPKE, some other programs have been implemented such as the National Matching Scheme for Paired Donation in 2009.
I am glad to see how economics have had a direct impact in many people´s life or have even saved them, literally. I agree and cite what the same Roth once declared… “…economics is about the real world [ …] …we are interested in how people lead their lives and like to think of economics as being not just a social science but a humanity.”
If you want to read more about NEPKE, you can visit its website :