Marketing in Heterozygous Advantage

By gjones, published at 4 September 2007 - 4:32am, last updated 10 years 14 weeks ago.

Ray Hagtvedt and I have a new paper, Marketing in Heterozygous Advantage, forthcoming in the Journal of Business Ethics, in which we examine coordination problems and perverse incentives surrounding the development of markets in a particular form of human genetic engineering in which heterozygotes are fitter than both homozygotes, a condition known as heterozygous advantage. We first present a generalized model of the condition, illuminated by the application to sickle-cell anemia. Next, we propose a typology of related markets, some of which are currently functioning with available products and services, and others that are widely viewed as imminent. We suggest the manner in which perverse incentives may arise for firms that market genetic intervention in circumstances where heterozygous advantage is possible. Finally, we propose that this misalignment of incentives with social welfare has arisen from both ill-conceived market intervention where markets are capable of achieving efficient outcomes and the lack of market intervention where markets have failed. We offer specific legal and regulatory approaches for reform. An advance version of the paper is available here.

Gregory Todd Jones & Reidar Hagtvedt, Marketing in Heterozygous Advantage, The Journal of Business Ethics (forthcoming, 2007).