Thursday, March 5, 2015

First kidney exchange in Poland,February 2015

Here's the story, published February 18 2015: Poland's first living donor paired kidney exchange

"Poland's first kidney paired donation transplant was been performed last Tuesday by specialists at the Department of General and Transplant Surgery, University Hospital of the Infant Jesus in Warsaw.
Kidney extraction and transplantation surgeries were performed by Prof. Andrzej Chmura, Prof. Artur Kwiatkowski and Dr. Rafał Kieszek. Transplantation coordinator of the entire project was Aleksandra Tomaszek.
"The Department of General and Transplant Surgery, University Hospital of the Infant Jesus in Warsaw performs 40 percent of all transplants from living donors in Poland. 55 such procedures were performed in Poland in 2014."

And here (in Polish) is an announcement of a lecture on matching algorithms used in kidney exchange:
Teoria gier w służbie transplantologii. Wykład interdyscyplinarny prof. Marka Szopy.
Google Translate renders it like this:
Game theory in the service of transplantation. Interdisciplinary lecture prof. Brand Sheds
(Google translate is thorough: it also tries to translate Polish names...:)

"Today will be a lecture by Professor. Brand Sheds on the use of algorithms in transplantation. The lecture is held in connection with the February first Polish cross-kidney transplant operation. During the lecture, professor of physics will bring the way in which they were matched donor organs and global trends that are based on algorithms."

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Video of two lectures: Market design and the flow of information (50 minute) and kidney exchange (20 minutes)

This is a video of the lunchtime talk I gave in early February at the Information Theory and Applications workshop. The talk introduces market design, and focuses for examples on labor market clearinghouses (in labor markets with couples), such as the National Resident Matching Program, and school choice.

And here is the talk I gave at the market design session immediately after:

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Behavioral macro economics

Here's the call for papers for an NBER conference:

"Call for Papers
NBER EFBEM Working Group
Andrew Caplin and Michael Woodford

We are organizing a meeting of the EFG research group on Behavioral Macro as part of the NBER's Summer Institute in Cambridge, MA, on Wednesday July 8. Note that the NBER Economic Fluctuations meeting itself is scheduled for Saturday, July 11, with other groups that may be of interest also meeting on other days of this same week. The meeting will run for the full day on July 8.

We are especially interested in papers that develop, test, and apply psychologically rich models of individual behavior, with implications for aggregate and/or financial market dynamics. One active focus of the group concerns perceptual constraints. The gap between potentially available information and subjectively perceived information has been the focus on much research in economics, psychology, and neuroscience. The resulting limits on comprehension have implications for inertial behavior and for both over-reaction and under-reaction to different types of shocks.

Another important focus is expectation formation, considering not simply how accurate or biased are forecasts, but also how people process past experience to predict the likely consequences of future actions. Research on this topic explores the implications of alternative models of expectation formation, both as explanations of positive phenomena and for purposes of policy design.

The group promotes work that tests models of perceptual constraints and expectation formation using survey data, laboratory and field experiments, and both individual-level and aggregate time series. Given its focus on psychologically and/or neuro-physiologically realistic theories, the group is actively interested in the generation of new forms of data that can aid in model estimation and policy evaluation.

We are writing to you because you may have a paper or abstract appropriate for the program.  (We prefer papers to abstracts.) If you have a paper that you would like to present, please upload a copy here by March 30, 2015: You are also welcome to forward this call for papers to colleagues who may have a paper suitable for the program.

We regret that, because of resource constraints, it will likely be impossible to respond to everyone who submits a paper.  You should expect to be contacted only if your paper has been included on the program.  In addition, this call for papers is widely distributed and the meeting room is small, so unfortunately we cannot invite everyone who receives this call to the meeting. Invitations and logistical information will be distributed in late April.  If you have any questions or need additional information please contact Rob Shannon in the NBER's Conference Department at 617/868-3900 or"

The marketplace for ideas: Academic Freedom and Anti-Semitism (and calls to boycott Israel)

In January, Larry Summers gave a speech at the Center for Law and Liberty at Columbia University Law School, titled Academic Freedom and Anti-Semitism. It is interesting not just for how he reflects on his statements on the subject when he was President of Harvard (he called proposed boycotts of Israel "anti-Semitic in effect if not intent"), but is also helpful for thinking about the once-again resurgent movement to boycott, divest from and sanction Israel and companies doing business there.

President Hennessy of Stanford recently spoke to the faculty Senate following a student Senate (re)vote that urged Stanford to divest from companies "facilitating State repression against Palestinians," with comments that clarified Stanford's policy (on boycotts and divestment generally, not on anti-Semitism in particular).

Following the student vote, I signed an online petition called Reject Stanford Divestment from Israel.  I recently signed another, and supported a third which isn't yet on the web. The letters are signed by people with a variety of positions on  Israeli policies and politics, but all disturbed by the singular obsession with Israel expressed by movements to boycott and divest from it.

I'm a reluctant signer of letters in general, and I imagine that everyone who signs a joint letter might have written with different wording or emphasis if they were writing on their own. But that didn't stop me from adding my name to these, under the circumstances.

Here's a Stanford Daily story on that student senate vote: Senate reverses divestment vote, passes resolution

As the story notes, we're not talking about a big vote: "The re-vote saw 10 Senators vote in favor of the bill, while four voted against and one Senator abstained."

But the world remains a dangerous place: here's a statement from a consortium of California Jewish community organizations, focusing in part on the recent murders in France and Denmark: Against the Mainstreaming of Anti-Semitism

That statement concludes with this:
"History has shown that whenever one group is attacked, others are inevitably targeted as well. Let us stand together against all forms of hate and racism."

Monday, March 2, 2015

Medical Matches: A Market Design Perspective. March 4 at Stanford Med

I'll speak on March 4 at the Stanford medical school. I gather that everyone is welcome, but you have to register in advance.

MEDICAL MATCHES: A Market Design Perspective
What Match Day, kidney donors, and economic theory have in common.

March 4, 2015
6:30 PM - 8:30 PM
Register Now

Join the Stanford University Medical Center Alumni Association for an evening with Nobel Prize Winner Alvin Roth, MS ’73, PhD ’74, as he explains how he uses economic theory and marketplace algorithms to systemize courtship in real world settings. From redesigning the National Residency Matching Program to helping surgeons maximize transplant exchange programs, he will share how the economics of transactions help us find new ways of connecting.

Space is limited. Pre-registration is required. Register now!

Alvin Roth is the Craig and Susan McCaw professor of economics at Stanford University and the Gund professor of economics and business administration emeritus at Harvard University. Roth has made significant contributions to the fields of game theory, market design and experimental economics, and is known for his emphasis on applying economic theory to solutions for "real-world" problems. In 2012, he won the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences jointly with Lloyd Shapley for the theory of stable allocations and the practice of market design.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

The End of Privacy: special issue of Science

Privacy: use it or lose it. Likely to be important both for market design and for civil rights...

I haven't yet read this special issue of Science on privacy, but it looks like fun.

The End of Privacy

  • From big data to ubiquitous Internet connections, technology empowers researchers and the public—but makes traditional notions of privacy obsolete


  • Attack suggests need for new data safeguards.
  • Facial recognition software could soon ID you in any photo.
  • "Voiceprints" offer convenience and security, but they may pose privacy issues.
  • After the Snowden revelations, U.S. mathematicians are questioning their long-standing ties with the secretive National Security Agency.
  • Unmanned aircraft may soon be everywhere; how they will affect privacy is still unclear.
  • When new or dangerous infectious diseases strike, public health often trumps personal privacy.
  • Medical devices connected to the Internet are vulnerable to sabotage or data theft.
  • Software lets you use location-based apps without revealing where you are.
  • Scientists can no longer guarantee patients' privacy. They're looking for new ways to build trust.
  • A browser extension masks your true interests with customized decoy questions.