The Impact of Social Capital on Organ Donation: Evidence from the Netherlands

Hans Schmeets*, Floris Peters

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Abstract

The Netherlands faces a shortage of organ donors. Figures from Statistics Netherlands show that of Dutch residents aged 12 and over, only one in four is a registered organ donor. In July 2020, a new law has changed the system from 'opt-in' to 'opt-out', with the aim of increasing the number of registered donors. Under the new system, everyone is in principle automatically registered as a donor unless they decline permission for their organs to be used. But what are the drivers of organ donation? This question is particularly interesting in the Netherlands, not only because of the new law, but also in light of the diversity in social capital and religious involvement which may play an important role in the decision to donate. This paper explores the impact of social capital on organ donation. It uses a unique database which contains information on organ donation for the whole Dutch population over 12, enriched by the Survey on Social Cohesion and Wellbeing covering the period 2012-2017 (N = 45,645). Results demonstrate a linear increase in registered organ donors as individual social capital, measured by a composite index based on 17 participation and trust indicators, increases. The results further show that religion has a detrimental impact on organ donation. The paper also discusses the effects of the separate social capital indicators on organ donation and their policy implications.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)863-897
Number of pages35
JournalSocial Indicators Research
Volume157
Issue number3
Early online date9 Apr 2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2021

Keywords

  • Organ donation
  • Religion
  • Social capital
  • The Netherlands
  • OFFICIALS
  • UNITED-STATES
  • POPULATION
  • WILLINGNESS
  • ATTITUDES
  • TRANSPLANTATION
  • RELIGION
  • DONOR BEHAVIOR
  • PHILANTHROPY
  • GENDER-DIFFERENCES

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