Friday, June 24, 2016

Repugnance watch: US ceases efforts to end global trade of polar bear parts

The Guardian has the story: US ceases efforts to end global trade of polar bear parts

"The US government has quietly dropped its campaign for an international ban in the trade of polar bear parts, which would have given the practice the same outlaw status as the elephant ivory market.
The US Fish and Wildlife Service has spent several years attempting to ban the overseas trade of polar bear skins, teeth, paws and other parts from Canada, which permits the hunting of the Arctic predators.
However, the federal agency has said it won’t pursue the matter further at an international summit of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (Cites), in September. Instead, the US will focus on the threat posed to polar bears from climate change.
"The US’s bid to ban the polar bear trade has garnered support from the UK, Germany and Russia but has been opposed by Canada, which insists that hunting is sustainable and an important cultural practice of the native Inuit people. Hunting can also generate income for communities, with tourists paying up to $50,000 for the chance to shoot a polar bear."

Thursday, June 23, 2016

A skeptical view of the Iranian market for kidneys, from Shiraz

Here's an article (gated) from a recent issue of Transplantation, describing how the transplant program in Shiraz is discouraging patients from the (legal) market there for buying kidneys from living unrelated donors (they impose a six month waiting time for such transplants). Most patients who have transplants at Shiraz are receiving deceased donor kidneys.

doi: 10.1097/TP.0000000000001164
In View: Around the World

Paid Living Donation and Growth of Deceased Donor Programs

Ghahramani, Nasrollah MD

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Abstract: Limited organ availability in all countries has stimulated discussion about incentives to increase donation. Since 1988, Iran has operated the only government-sponsored paid living donor (LD) kidney transplant program. This article reviews aspects of the Living Unrelated Donor program and development of deceased donation in Iran. Available evidence indicates that in the partially regulated Iranian Model, the direct negotiation between donors and recipients fosters direct monetary relationship with no safeguards against mutual exploitation. Brokers, the black market and transplant tourism exist, and the waiting list has not been eliminated. Through comparison between the large deceased donor program in Shiraz and other centers in Iran, this article explores the association between paid donation and the development of a deceased donor program. Shiraz progressively eliminated paid donor transplants such that by 2011, 85% of kidney transplants in Shiraz compared with 27% across the rest of Iran's other centers were from deceased donors. Among 26 centers, Shiraz undertakes the largest number of deceased donor kidney transplants, most liver transplants, and all pancreas transplants. In conclusion, although many patients with end stage renal disease have received transplants through the paid living donation, the Iranian Model now has serious flaws and is potentially inhibiting substantial growth in deceased donor organ transplants in Iran.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Kidney black market arrests at Apollo hospital in Delhi

Each morning when I manage this blog I erase spam comments, and many of them relate to kidney sales. You can see typical ones on the Google+ page of the (apparently mis-spelled) Appollo Hospital in India.
So I noted with interest this recent story about arrests connected to that hospital.

Kidney Racket: At Least 3 Recipients, 5 Donors Traced
Delhi | Press Trust of India |

"NEW DELHI:  Delhi Police have traced at least three recipients and five donors in connection with the international kidney racket linked to Apollo Hospitals in Delhi, even as the investigators sought legal opinion regarding slapping charges on them.

Five persons, including two personal secretaries of a nephrologist in Apollo Hospital, have been arrested in connection with the kidney racket which is believed to have its ramifications in countries including Sri Lanka and Indonesia, an official privy to the investigation said.

Till this afternoon, three of the recipients were traced in Kolhapur, Jammu and Kashmir and Ghaziabad.

Prima facie the recipients shelled out over Rs. 40 lakh for each transplant, of which not even 10 per cent reached the donor, the official said.

He further said, the police have traced over five donors, including three women, who are presently admitted in a hospital in Delhi.

During investigation it came to light that the gang members used to prepare forged papers to establish the relationship between donors and recipients, to adhere to the law.

The police have come across five cases in Apollo Hospital, in which the donors were shown as wife, brother, father or brother-in-law (2 cases) of recipients, the official said, adding that while average time of hospital stay for the donors was six days, for the recipients it was 12 days.

Meanwhile, the police have sought legal opinion in slapping charges on the donors and recipients under relevant provisions of law. Lawyers have been consulted for the purpose, the official said.

The accused arrested so far in the case include Aditya Singh and Shailesh Saxena, who worked as personal secretaries of Apollo Hospital doctors for 3-4 years, and three touts identified as Aseem Sikdar, Satya Prakash and Devashish Moulik.

The touts used to lure financially poor people from West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh and other parts of the country for donating kidney. Mr Moulik landed in the police net following a fight with his wife, whose kidney he had sold off.

Medical tests of recipient and donor were conducted and once the compatibility match was done, operations were conducted at Apollo Hospital in southeast Delhi.

"We are cooperating and providing all information required to help the police in their investigation pertaining to the alleged kidney sale racket," said a press statement by Indraprastha Apollo Hospital."

Monday, June 20, 2016

Pollak on Marriage Markets

Here's a new NBER paper on marriage by Bob Pollak:

Marriage Market Equilibrium

Robert A. Pollak

NBER Working Paper No. 22309
Issued in June 2016
NBER Program(s):   CH   LS 
The standard Beckerian analysis of marriage market equilibrium assumes that allocation within marriage implements agreements made in the marriage market. This paper investigates marriage market equilibrium when allocation within marriage is determined by bargaining in marriage and compares that model with the standard model. When bargaining in marriage determines allocation within marriage, the marriage market is the first stage of a two-stage game. The second stage, bargaining in marriage, determines allocation within each marriage. This analysis is consistent with any bargaining model with a unique equilibrium as well as with Becker's "altruist model," the model that underlies the Rotten Kid Theorem. Marriage-market participants are assumed to rank prospective spouses on the basis of the allocations they foresee emerging from bargaining in marriage. The first stage game, the marriage market, determines both who marries and, among those who marry, who marries whom (assortative marriage). When bargaining in marriage determines allocation within marriage, the appropriate framework for analyzing marriage market equilibrium is the Gale-Shapley matching model, not the Koopmans-Beckmann assignment model. These models have different implications for who marries, for who marries whom, and for the Pareto efficiency of marriage market equilibrium.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

The regulated market for the resale of grave sites (and the black market of unregulated sales)

Benjamin Kay points me to a 2013 story in The Forward about the resale market for unused grave sites: Black Market for Jewish Grave Sites Grows on Web .

"A black market in Jewish graves is hiding in plain sight on the classified pages.

"Defunct Jewish burial societies have been selling cemetery plots at bargain basement prices through classified ads on Craigslist and in the print edition of the Forward — even though New York and New Jersey state laws bar these sales.

"Each sale of a New York grave by a burial society on the open market could be punishable by up to six months in jail, according to the state’s top cemetery regulator, though no one has ever been prosecuted. New Jersey law carries no such penalties, but still prohibits the sales.
"Only cemeteries are generally allowed to sell cemetery plots on the open market in New York and New Jersey. But in the two states’ Jewish cemeteries, mutual aid societies, called landsmanschaften, own huge inventories of empty graves. Founded at the turn of the past century by Jewish immigrants from the same town or region in Europe, the societies bought up large tracts of cemetery land, erected stone gates lined with the names of the societies’ officers and readied plots for their dues-paying members.

"Today, many of those societies and congregations have disappeared, leaving behind empty, unclaimed graves.

"As the societies have withered away, control of the organizations and their assets has passed down within families. The officers who now run the landsmanschaften — often the children or grandchildren of earlier officers — have found themselves responsible for cemetery land worth hundreds of thousands of dollars."

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Market design at the University of Chicago

Chicago is making a home for market design. ..
Mohammad Akbarpour and Eric Budish's market design class at University of Chicago