Saturday, June 23, 2018

Who accepts which deceased donor kidneys? Agarwal, Ashlagi, Somaini and Waldinger in the AEA P&P

Dynamic Incentives in Wait List Mechanisms

Download Full Text PDF 

Friday, June 22, 2018

Tuneups for kidney exchange by Agarwal, Aslahi, Azevedo, Featherstone and Karaduman

From the May 2018, first issue of the AEA (not R) Papers and Proceedings:
What Matters for the Productivity of Kidney Exchange?
Nikhil Agarwal
Itai Ashlagi
Eduardo Azevedo
Clayton Featherstone
Ömer Karaduman

Download Full Text PDF 

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Repugnance watch: referendum proposes to end (some) legal prostitution in Nevada

The November ballot will have a referendum on prostitution in two Nevada counties where it is currently legal. The WSJ has the story:

Is the Party Over for Nevada’s Legal Brothels? Possibility of a Ban Looms
Referendum measures, if passed, would outlaw nine bordellos in two Nevada counties as women’s advocates take on working conditions for prostitutes

"A coalition of women’s advocacy groups in Nevada has undertaken referendum initiatives against legal prostitution in Lyon and Nye counties, opposite corners of the state that are home to about half of the state’s brothels.
"Nevada began legalizing prostitution on a county basis in 1971, the only state to have done so. Seven of the state’s 16 counties have licensed bordellos; prostitution remains illegal in populous Clark County including Las Vegas, and Washoe County including Reno.

"Women’s activists said they began seeking the bans last year after hearing about prostitutes being assaulted at the brothels. “These are all areas of sexual harassment and assault within the workplace, which is why this is a part of the #MeToo movement,” said Melissa Holland, executive director of Awaken, a Reno women’s nonprofit that teamed with other groups to push for referendums.
"Frederick Fabian, manager at the Desert Club brothel in Battle Mountain, Nev., which hasn’t been targeted for a ban, said illegal prostitution is a dangerous profession while legalized prostitution isn’t. “The cathouses and brothels are regulated by the county sheriff and the health facilities,” he said."

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Statement on Harmful Consequences of Separating Families at the U.S. Border, by the U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine issued the following statement today: 
Statement on Harmful Consequences of Separating Families at the U.S. Border
We urge the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to immediately stop separating migrant children from their families, based on the body of scientific evidence that underscores the potential for lifelong, harmful consequences for these children and based on human rights considerations.

Reports from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine contain an extensive body of evidence on the factors that affect the welfare of children – evidence that points to the danger of current immigration enforcement actions that separate children from their parents. Research indicates that these family separations jeopardize the short- and long-term health and well-being of the children involved. In addition, the Committee on Human Rights of the National Academies, which has a long history of addressing issues at the intersection of human rights, science, and health, stresses that the practice of separating parents from their children at the border is inconsistent with U.S. obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

Parents’ impact on their children’s well-being may never be greater than during the earliest years of life, when a child’s brain is developing rapidly and when nearly all of her or his experiences are shaped by parents and the family environment (NASEM, 2016, p. 1).  Young children who are separated from their primary caregivers may potentially suffer mental health disorders and other adverse outcomes over the course of their lives (NASEM, 2016, p. 21-22). Child development involves complex interactions among genetic, biological, psychological, and social processes (NRC and IOM, 2009, p. 74), and a disruption in any of these – such as family disruption – hinders healthy development and increases the risk for future disorders (NRC and IOM, 2009, p.102-104).  Young children are capable of deep and lasting sadness, grief, and disorganization in response to trauma and loss (NRC and IOM, 2000, p. 387).  Indeed, most mental, emotional, and behavioral disorders have their roots in childhood and adolescence (NRC and IOM, 2009, p. 1), and childhood trauma has emerged as a strong risk factor for later suicidal behavior (IOM, 2002, p. 3).  

Decades of research have demonstrated that the parent-child relationship and the family environment are at the foundation of children’s well-being and healthy development. We call upon the Department of Homeland Security to stop family separations immediately based on this evidence.

Marcia McNutt
President, National Academy of Sciences

C. D. Mote, Jr.
President, National Academy of Engineering

Victor J. Dzau

President, National Academy of Medicine

Canada legalizes recreational marijuana

First, a thoughtful tweet from the Prime Minister, about markets and black markets:
Here's the story from the CBC:

Senate passes pot bill, paving way for legal cannabis in 8 to 12 weeks
Federal government's bill legalizing recreational cannabis passes 52-29

"Now that the bill has passed, it's up to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his cabinet to choose the actual date when the legalization of recreational marijuana becomes law of the land. Bill C-45 comes with a provisional buffer period of eight to 12 weeks to give provinces time to prepare for sales of recreational marijuana."

And here's the NY Times:
Vote in Canada Paves the Way for Legalization of Marijuana

"Canada’s Senate passed legislation on Tuesday that will make Canada the first country with a major economy to legalize recreational marijuana use.

"The bill, which was approved by the House of Commons on Monday, goes next to the governor-general, the representative of Queen Elizabeth, as a formality. Once it is formally approved, the legislation is expected to create a multibillion dollar industry, with Canada joining Uruguay as the only countries to allow their citizens on a national level to use marijuana without fear of arrest."

Best paper award to Mohammad Akbarpour and Shengwu Li for "Credible Mechanisms"

Good news from ec18 now going on at Cornell.

The Best Paper Award goes to "Credible Mechanisms" by Mohammad Akbarpour and Shengwu Li 

Here is the paper: Credible Mechanisms

Abstract: Consider an extensive-form mechanism, run by an auctioneer who communicates sequentially and privately with agents.  Suppose the auctioneer can deviate from the rules provided that no single agent detects the deviation.  A mechanism is credible if it is incentive-compatible for the auctioneer to follow the rules. We study the optimal auctions in which only winners pay, under symmetric independent private values.The  first-price  auction  is  the  unique  credible  static  mechanism.   The  ascending auction is the unique credible strategy-proof mechanism.

And here are their websites
Mohammad Akbarpour
Shengwu Li

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Why high incentives might require muscular informed consent (Ambuehl, Ockenfels and Stewart)

Here's a new paper (or at least just recently on the web) showing that subjects who are enticed by high payments might be disproportionately those who have difficulty gathering information about the risks...i.e.. these potential participants respond more to high payoffs than those who might have been able to gather information easily (and might have participated for a lower payment or been deterred even despite a high payment).

Attention and Selection Effects

CESifo Working Paper No. 7091 (Mai 2018)
Primary CESifo Category: [13] Behavioural Economics 
Who participates in transactions when information about the consequences must be learned? We show theoretically that decision makers for whom acquiring and processing information is more costly respond more strongly to changes in incentive payments for participating and decide to participate based on worse information. With higher payments, the pool of participants thus consists of a larger proportion of individuals who have a worse understanding of the consequences of their decision. We conduct a behavioral experiment that confirms these predictions, both for experimental variation in the costs of information acquisition and for various measures of information costs, including school grades and cognitive ability. These findings are relevant for any transaction combining a payment for participation with uncertain yet learnable consequences.

Monday, June 18, 2018

Alex Teytelboym on Love Island

Alex T. writes to let me know that he has been explaining British reality TV: a show where beautiful people couple up and couple on camera, apparently.

 The economics of Love Island: how game theory explains 'coupling up'

His concluding paragraphs:

"So how does economic theory help contestants win Love Island? It’s very tempting to dump your partner and couple up with someone else, especially when there are eight weeks to go. But leaving your partner for someone else once tells others you are bad egg who cannot be trusted. As the series nears its end, the rewards from commitment are very high – not just within the Love Island house, but
also with the viewers.

"The public love couples who fight but appear committed. A “folk theorem” in game theory tells us that when people are sufficiently patient they can remain committed even when incentives to cheat are high. Sometimes second best is the best you can get, so you shouldn’t be greedy. Ultimately, while being liked by the public clearly helps, Love Islanders would do well to heed game theorists’

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Title IX reporting incentives and mis-incentives

The Atlantic has a story on a strange Title IX case (and a resulting lawsuit), with the suggestion that it might have to do with perverse legal and procedural incentives:

Mutually Nonconsensual Sex

Here's the critical paragraph:
"The event in précis, as summarized by Robby Soave of Reason magazine:
“Male and female student have a drunken hookup. He wakes up, terrified she's going to file a sexual misconduct complaint, so he goes to the Title IX office and beats her to the punch. She is found guilty and suspended.”