Friday, November 16, 2018

Xenotransplants: the (evergreen) promise of transplantable organs from pigs

Wouldn't it be great if the shortage of transplantable organs could be fixed by figuring out how to grow them in farm animals? (Yes, that would raise a bunch of issues of its own, but so does meat eating...)

The NY Times has the story of how that might be closer than it has been in the past:
20 AMERICANS DIE EACH DAY WAITING FOR ORGANS. CAN PIGS SAVE THEM?
THANKS TO GENETICALLY ENGINEERED PIGS, THE DONOR-ORGAN SHORTAGE COULD SOON BE A THING OF THE PAST.


It includes lots of promising news, and this observation:
“The joke about xenotransplantation is that it’s always just around the corner, and it always will be,” says Parsia Vagefi, the chief of surgical transplantation at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas. “But recent progress has been so remarkable that for first time it feels like we’re on the verge of a definitive solution to the organ crisis.”
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And of course, note that many more than 20 Americans die each day due to a shortage of organs:

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Thursday, November 15, 2018

The law and economics of market design: conference in Mannheim November 15-16

The program is here, but for some reason I can't copy it.
Kim Krawiec and Peter Cramton will be giving keynote addresses.

Market design seems like a natural for a conference on law and economics...

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

The Terrible Toll of the Kidney Shortage, by McCormick, Held and Chertow

An editorial in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology counts the high human costs of the kidney shortage in terms not only of deaths among those on the waiting list for a deceased donor transplant, but also among the other three-fourths of kidney failure patients who are not added to the waiting list but who would medically benefit from a transplant.

The Terrible Toll of the Kidney Shortage,
by Frank McCormick, Philip J. Held, and Glenn M. Chertow

"to see the full extent of the harm done by the kidney shortage and the potential benefit from ending it, let us assume that 50% of those who are diagnosed with ESRD could medically benefit from a transplant. (This assumption is consistent with the findings of Schold et al. 5 that, if all of the patients on dialysis who have a life expectancy of >5 years were placed on the kidney waiting list, the number on the list would almost double.) Thus, half of the 126,000 patients who are currently diagnosed with ESRD each year—63,000 patients—might medically benefit from a transplant. However,if only 20,000 patients per year receive a transplant, the remaining 43,000 would join the growing toll of those who die prematurely because of the kidney shortage. To put this in perspective, this is the same death toll as from 85 fully loaded 747s crashing each year.




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See my earlier post on earlier, defining work on the costs of the organ shortage:

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Welfare of sophisticated versus naive players revisited, by Babaioff, Gonczarowski, and Romm

Here's a new paper with a nuanced view of how well sophisticated players may do in a non-strategy-proof mechanism:

Playing on a level field: Sincere and sophisticated players in the Boston mechanism with a coarse priority structure
Moshe Babaioff, Yannai A. Gonczarowski, Assaf Romm∗
October 15, 2018

Abstract: Who gains and who loses from a manipulable school choice mechanism? We examine this question with a focus on the outcomes for sincere and sophisticated students,and present results concerning their absolute and relative gains under the manipulable Boston Mechanism (BM) as compared with the strategy-proof Deferred Acceptance (DA). The absolute gain of a student of a certain type is the difference between her expected utility under (an equilibrium of) BM and her utility under (the dominant strategy quilibrium of) DA. Holding everything else constant, one type of a player has relative gain with respect to another type if her absolute gain is higher. Prior theoretical works presented inconclusive results regarding the absolute gains of both types of students, and predicted (or assumed) positive relative gains for sophisticated types compared to sincere types. The empirical evidence is also mixed, with different markets exhibiting very different behaviors. We extend the previous results and explain the inconsistent empirical findings using a large random market approach. We provide robust and generic results of the “anything goes” variety for markets with a coarse priority structure. That is, in such markets there are many sincere and sophisticated students who prefer BM to DA (positive absolute gain), and vice versa (negative absolute gain). Furthermore, some populations may even get a relative gain from being sincere (and being perceived as such). We conclude by studying market forces that can influence the choice between the two mechanisms.

Monday, November 12, 2018

MIT School choice summit: Nov. 13

A big group of academics and practitioners involved in school choice will gather in Cambridge to take stock of what we have learned, and still hope to learn, about school choice.

MIT SCHOOL ACCESS AND QUALITY SUMMIT 2018

"November 13, 2018 | Cambridge, MA
The MIT School Access and Quality Summit will focus on school enrollment strategies that can increase access and generate data to improve portfolio planning and the measurement of school effectiveness. Researchers will present new findings on the impact of policy interventions, and policymakers will share their experiences with implementation. Through these conversations, we hope to spark long-term partnerships between researchers and practitioners, and prompt continuous interaction between rigorous research and policy design, implementation, and evaluation."

Tuesday, November 13

9:00 AM  Welcome and Introduction
Ian Waitz, Vice Chancellor for Undergraduate and Graduate Education, MIT

9:15 AM  Leveraging Enrollment Mechanisms to Evaluate Impact
Joshua Angrist, Director, School Effectiveness and Inequality Initiative
Parag Pathak, Director, School Effectiveness and Inequality Initiative

9:45 AM  Simplifying Enrollment in Chicago: A First Look at the Adoption of GoCPS
Lisa Barrow, Senior Economist, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago
Tony T. Howard, III, Executive Director of Enrollment and Education Policy, Chicago Public Schools

10:45 AM  Break

11:00 AM  Keynote
Richard Carranza, Chancellor, of New York City Department of Education

11:30 Taking Stock of School Choice Reforms
Neil Dorosin, Executive Director, Institute for Innovation in Public School Choice

12:00 PM  Working Lunch

Case Consultancies
Introduction by Carrie Conaway, Chief Research and Strategy Officer, Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education

1:30 PM  Improving School Quality in Camden
Paymon Rouhanifard, Former Superintendent, Camden City School District

2:00 PM Evidence on the Determinants and Consequences of School Choice from Washington DC
Steven Glazerman, Senior Policy Fellow, Mathematica Policy Research
Dallas Dotter, Researcher, Mathematica Policy Research
Claudia Luján, Deputy Chief, Strategic School Planning and Enrollment, District of Columbia Public Schools

3:00 PM  Break

3:15 PM  Leveling the Playing Field for High School Admissions in New York City
Sarah Cohodes, Assistant Professor of Education and Public Policy, Columbia University
Nadiya Chadha, Director of High School Admissions Research and Policy, New York City Department of Education

4:15 PM  Developing a National Research Agenda for Access and Choice
Douglas Harris, Director, The National Center for Research on Education Access and Choice

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Repugnance watch: Greyhound racing banned (even) in Florida

Florida had an active greyhound racing industry, now banned by referendum:
Here's the story from the Orlando Sentinal:
How vote to end Florida greyhound racing won and what comes next

"After years of failing to push greyhound racing reform through the Florida Legislature, animal-welfare advocates took their mission directly to the state’s voters this week — scoring such a decisive victory that proponents say it signals the eventual end of the sport across the country.

“A 69-percent vote in Florida — a state with a still-conservative electorate — shows that this is now unstoppable,” said Carey Theil, executive director of GREY2K USA, the main force behind the Yes on 13 campaign to support the racing ban. “It sends a message not only to the remaining dog tracks in the nation but all around the world that dogs are members of our families and we will not tolerate industries that harm them.
...
"Florida’s 11 active dog tracks will have until Jan. 1, 2021, to phase out their live greyhound racing. They’ll still be able to race horses, if their tracks can accommodate the event, and they’ll still be able to have wagering on simulcast races from other tracks, including from dog tracks in the five remaining states where the practice is still active and legal."
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A NY Times article begins by considering the problem of rehoming the racing dogs who will be retired, but includes an interesting feature of the industry that has kept dog racing active in Florida:

Thousands of Greyhounds May Need Homes as Florida Bans Racing

"Florida’s tracks remained in part because of state laws that require them to continue racing in order to keep their lucrative gambling operations. In Florida, only existing “parimutuel” facilities like dog tracks and horse tracks could obtain licenses to operate card rooms and slots."

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Obvious manipulations by Pete Troyan and Thayer Morrill

Here's a paper motivated by the fact that (obviously:) there are going to be many more mechanisms that aren't obviously manipulable than there are mechanisms that are obviously strategy proof, or even strategy proof...

Obvious Manipulations
Peter Troyan, Thayer Morrill∗ (*in random order)
October 3, 2018

Abstract: A mechanism is strategy-proof if agents can never profitably manipulate, in any state of the world; however, not all non-strategy-proof
mechanisms are equally easy to manipulate - some are more “obviously”
manipulable than others. We propose a formal definition of an obvious
manipulation and argue that it may be advantageous for designers to
tolerate some manipulations, so long as they are non-obvious. By doing
so, improvements can be achieved on other key dimensions, such as
efficiency and fairness, without significantly compromising incentives.
We classify common non-strategy-proof mechanisms as either obviously
manipulable (OM) or not obviously manipulable (NOM), and show that
this distinction is both tractable and in-line with empirical realities
regarding the success of manipulable mechanisms in practical market
design settings

"Intuitively, a manipulation ...is classified as “obvious” if it either makes
the agent strictly better off in the worst case ...or it makes the agent strictly better off in the best case..."