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American Sociological Association: Kieran Healy Award Statement
Kieran Healy Award Statement
The Dissertation Award honors the best PhD dissertation for a calendar year from among those submitted by advisors and mentors in the discipline. Kieran Healy’s dissertation, titled Exchange in Blood and Organs, focuses on the arrangements by which body parts are allocated to patients in need when (as is always the case) the demand exceeds the supply. Such choices are, at their core, exercises in moral reasoning, and as we are moving toward markets for sperm, eggs, and even DNA, the issues are of paramount social importance. Healy takes this far beyond individual actors making altruistic choices, however, by showing first that donation rates vary systematically in ways individual-level theories cannot explain. This variation then becomes the empirical puzzle of the dissertation, a puzzle to which he brings a comparative, institutional approach and a strategic mix of methods and levels of analysis.