Thursday, September 19, 2019

History job market conference interviews are history

Inside Higher Ed has the story on the history job market (which they conflate with the AEA's recent decision to try to eliminate interviews in hotel rooms):

Killing the Conference Interview
American Historical Association ends annual meeting interviews and American Economic Association ends single hotel room interviews.
By Colleen Flaherty

"It's official: the American Historical Association will stop supporting first-round job interviews at its annual meeting.

"The group floated the idea this spring, citing a decline in registered departmental searches -- from 270 for the 2005 conference to 20 this year -- and a desire to take the meeting in new directions.
"After hearing overwhelming positive feedback from members, the AHA Council voted to end the 70-year-old tradition."

I'm not intimately familiar with the History job market, but for economists, I think the tradition of interviewing at the January meetings has had a good effect on the job market, helping to coordinate timings, reduce costs, and provide a thick early part of the market.  I hope that we won't be starting on the road to moving interviews elsewhere and (particularly) at earlier and more diffuse times.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

The Department of Justice opposes limits on early admissions, and other admissions agreements among colleges

Forbes has the story:

The Department Of Justice Aims To Unravel The College Admission Market
 Brennan Barnard

"Thanks to a two-year, ongoing investigation by the Antitrust Division of the United States Department of Justice (DOJ), the wheels are about to come off in college admission. As the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) prepares to meet later this month for their annual conference, the leadership reached out to members last week about proposed changes to the Association’s Code of Ethics and Professional Practice (CEPP). These potential amendments are a direct result of fruitless conversations with the DOJ, which have left NACAC with few options.
"Specifically the DOJ has taken issue with ethical guidelines that prevent colleges from “offering exclusive incentives for Early Decision, recruiting first-year undergraduates who have committed elsewhere, and recruiting transfer students.”

Regarding early admissions, the DOJ wants colleges to be able to compete more vigorously through early admissions, e.g. by offering special access to dormitories, or other perks to students who commit early.  It will be interesting to see where this leads, but it could easily lead to more unraveling of admissions, making more admissions decisions earlier.

Here's the relevant page from NACAC, the National Association for College Admissions Counseling:

2019 Assembly Meeting Background
NACAC’s Code of Ethics and Professional Practices and Antitrust Provisions
Kentucky International Convention Center
Saturday, September 28, 2019

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

West Point: adopts two sided matching for cadets to military branches

From the Army Times (the links in the story are worth clicking on for related detail):

West Point has changed how cadets are assigned branches — ROTC will soon follow

"West Point’s class of 2020 will serve as the first users of a new branch assignment system this fall, which the Army hopes will help with the retention of junior officers and better assign talent.
The Army is rolling out a new “Market Model branching system" that takes input from the commandants of each branch, who rank cadets as “most preferred,” “preferred” or “least preferred,” according to an Army news posting.
The number of cadets allocated into each of the three ranks depends on the branch’s needs.
The program starts with West Point cadets receiving their branch assignments this November, but will eventually be used across the service’s Reserve Officer Training Corps detachments next year.
Cadets will be judged based on a range of factors, including test scores, physical fitness scores, transcripts, personal statements and, for the first time, interviews with the branches they’re interested in.
Rankings and preferences will decide branch assignments using a variant of the same algorithm that medical school graduates use to be assigned to residency programs across the country.
This is the first time commandants from the Army’s 17 branches will have a say in which cadets come into their branches, the service said in its announcement. Previously, cadets simply ranked the branches in order of preference and received their assignment “based almost entirely on their ranking in the Order of Merit List," the Army’s posting reads.
The Army release also notes that the process allows for cadets to take on a Branch of Choice Active Duty Service Obligation, or BRADSO. This allows for West Point graduates to serve an extra three years on top of five they’re already obligated to serve in exchange for increasing the odds that the cadet will receive the branch they most desire.
BRADSO doesn’t change how well the branch commandant ranks a cadet, but it does move cadets within their own ranking.
“If you’re cadet number 25 in that most preferred bucket, and I’m cadet number 45 and I’m willing to BRADSO and you’re not, I move above you,” Maj. Jared Sunsdahl, West Point’s accessions division chief, said in the Army posting. “Now, 45 is above 25 and then depending on how many branch allocations there are, you may not have received that branch because there were only so many allocations left.”
Therefore, it won’t take a cadet from being “preferred” by the branch commandant to being “most preferred,” but it will increase their odds against other “preferred” cadets.
West Point’s class of 2020 will lock in their final branch rankings between Sept. 23-29. Branch commandants have to lock in their rankings by Sept. 19."

HT: Tobias Switzer

Monday, September 16, 2019

Platform Markets at the Simons Institute this week (Sept 16-19)

Here's the workshop schedule:

Platform Markets Sep. 16 – Sep. 19, 2019

Monday, September 16th, 2019
1:20 pm – 1:30 pm Opening Remarks
1:30 pm – 2:15 pm Computational Complexity of Matching in Ride Sharing
Amin Saberi (Stanford University & Uber)
2:15 pm – 3:00 pm TBD Michael Schwarz (Microsoft)
3:00 pm – 3:30 pm Break
3:30 pm – 4:15 pm Driving Efficiencies in the Freight Industry Max Schmeiser (Convoy)
4:15 pm – 5:15 pm Ridesharing Panel Kane Sweeney (Uber), Hamid Nazerzadeh (Uber & USC), Chris Sholley (Lyft), Michael Ostrovsky (Stanford University), Moderated by Michael Schwarz (Microsoft)
5:15 pm – 6:15 pm Reception

Tuesday, September 17th, 2019
8:30 am – 9:00 am Coffee and Check-In
9:00 am – 9:45 am The Economics of the Bitcoin Payment System Jacob Leshno (University of Chicago)
9:45 am – 10:30 am  Marketplaces and Product Quality  Susan Athey (Stanford University)
10:30 am – 11:00 am Break
11:00 am – 11:45 am Redesigning the Kidney Exchange Market Itai Ashlagi (Stanford University)
11:45 am – 12:30 pm Consumer Protection in an Online World: An Analysis of Occupational Licensing Chiara Farronato (Harvard Business School)
12:30 pm – 2:30 pm  Lunch
2:30 pm – 3:15 pm  Ratings Design and Barriers to Entry  Nikhil Vellodi (Paris School of Economics & Princeton University)
3:15 pm – 3:45 pm Break
3:45 pm – 4:30 pm Steering in Online Markets: The Role of Platform Incentives and Credibility John Horton (MIT)

Wednesday, September 18th, 2019
8:30 am – 9:00 am Coffee and Check-In
9:00 am – 9:45 am Stochastic Matching with Few Queries Mohammad Hajiaghayi (University of Maryland)
9:45 am – 10:30 am Incentivizing Exploration among Behavioral Agents with Unbiased Histories  Nicole Immorlica (Microsoft Research)
10:30 am – 11:00 am Break
11:00 am – 11:45 am Clearing Matching Markets Efficiently: Informative signals and Match Recommendations  Peng Shi (University of Southern California)
11:45 am – 12:30 pm The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Artificial Currencies  Sid Banerjee (Cornell University)
12:30 pm – 2:30 pm Lunch
2:30 pm – 3:15 pm Matching Algorithms for Blood Donation  John Dickerson (University of Maryland)
3:15 pm – 3:45 pm Break
3:45 pm – 4:30 pm Optimal Growth in Two-Sided Markets  Garret Van Ryzin (Cornell Tech)

Thursday, September 19th, 2019
9:00 am – 9:30 am Coffee and Check-In
9:30 am – 10:15 am  Matching Markets: Managing Scale and Accuracy  Nicolas Stier-Moses (Facebook Core Data Science)
10:15 am – 11:00 am TBD Peter Coles (Airbnb)
11:00 am – 11:30 am Break
11:30 am – 12:30 pm Platforms and Marketplaces: Past Lessons and Future Possibilities  Simon Rothman (Greylock Partners), Interviewed by Steve Tadelis (UC Berkeley)

Sunday, September 15, 2019

The common app: reduced friction and increased congestion by Knight and Schiff

Reducing Frictions in College Admissions: Evidence from the Common Application

Brian G. KnightNathan M. Schiff

NBER Working Paper No. 26151
Issued in August 2019
Abstract: "College admissions in the U.S. is decentralized, with students applying separately to each school. This creates frictions in the college admissions process and, if substantial, might ultimately limit student choice. In this paper, we study the introduction of the Common Application (CA) platform, under which students submit a single application to all member schools, potentially reducing frictions and increasing student choice. We first document that joining the CA increases the number of applications received by schools, consistent with reduced frictions. Joining the CA also reduces the yield on accepted students, consistent with increased student choice, and institutions respond to the reduced yield by admitting more students. In line with these findings, we document that the CA has accelerated geographic integration: upon joining, schools attract more foreign students and more out-of-state students, especially from other states with significant CA membership, consistent with network effects. Finally, we find some evidence that joining the CA increases freshmen SAT scores. If so, and given that CA members tend to be more selective institutions, the CA has contributed to stratification, the widening gap between more selective and less selective schools."

"The CA began with just 15 colleges in 1975 but grew rapidly thereafter, with increases in member-ship in every year since 1975 and a significant acceleration of membership starting around 2000(Figure 1). It currently includes over 700 institutions, which, taken together, receive approximately4 million applications from 1 million students annually."

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Game theory in the Handelsblatt

The German newspaper Handelsblatt has a game theory column: SPIELTHEORIE-KOLUMNE

The article at the link is about matching markets, including a recent application to daycare in Mannheim.  Here's the headline:

Wie ├ľkonomie Systeme effizienter macht – und sogar der eigenen Gef├╝hlslage hilft

And here's Google translate:

"How economics makes systems more efficient - and even helps one's own emotional state"

Friday, September 13, 2019

Emanuel and Fuchs on health care in the NYT"

Here it is (four, because six would be too confusing...)

Four Key Things You Should Know About Health Care 
By Ezekiel J. Emanuel and Victor R. Fuchs
Sept. 12, 2019

"Fallacy No. 1: Employers pay for employees’ health insurance.
"Fallacy No. 2: Medicare for All is unaffordable.
"Fallacy No. 3: Insurance companies’ profits drive health care costs.
"Fallacy No. 4: Price transparency can bring down health care costs."