Saturday, May 28, 2016

Immigration to the U.S. since 1820 (animated graphic)

Click on the link below for the animated graphic (which I couldn't figure out how to embed).
Two Centuries of U.S. Immigration (1 dot = 10,000 people)

Friday, May 27, 2016

School choice in NYC middle schools has some catching up to do

While highschools in NYC have a carefully designed school choice system, elementary and middle school choice is more chaotic. Lots of middle schools will only admit children who rank them first, but that is now changing in some Brooklyn schools.

Chalkbeat has the story: Some of Brooklyn’s most sought-after middle schools will no longer see how applicants rank them

"Parents and experts have long lobbied for that change because they say the current system forces families to fill out their applications strategically, while often penalizing those who list their true preferences. Because the top middle schools in District 15 — which includes Park Slope, Carroll Gardens, and Sunset Park — each receive hundreds of applications, they generally only consider students who rank them first or second.
“For years, families have felt as though their options were limited to two top schools on their applications,” District 15 Superintendent Anita Skop said in a letter to parents Wednesday announcing the change. They “have felt as though they need to be strategic, rather than honest in their ranking of choices.”
"The middle school admissions process varies across the city, but most districts currently use “blind ranking” systems that do not show schools where they were listed on a student’s application. The citywide high school admissions process also works that way.
"Beginning in fall 2017, District 15 will join the three-quarters of districts that do not show middle schools how applicants ranked them. (Seven of the city’s 32 school districts will continue to share the rankings with middle schools.)

"A process in which schools see who ranks who further entrenches already entrenched inequities,” said said Neil Dorosin, executive director of the Institute for Innovation in Public School Choice, who helped design New York City’s high school admissions system. “That’s just fundamentally unfair and wrong.”

"M.S. 839, a new middle school in the district, uses a random admissions lottery. For that reason, some parents automatically rank the school third so that they can save their top slots for schools that consider ranking, said principal Michael Perlberg. He said some parents have received their first ranked choice but appealed that decision because they actually preferred M.S. 839.
"The policy change to blind rankings “is going to allow parents to sit down with their kids and do a ranking that’s really authentic,” Perlberg said. “We’re really excited about that.”

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Proposed legislation offers incentives to living organ donors in Pa.

The Pittsburgh Tribune Review has the story
Proposed legislation offers incentives to living organ donors in Pa.

"A Pennsylvania lawmaker plans to introduce legislation this week that would allow pilot programs to give non-cash rewards to people who donate a kidney or part of their liver.

The proposal from U.S. Rep. Matt Cartwright, D-Moosic, includes potential rewards for donors such as health insurance, tax credits, contributions to the donor's favorite charity and tuition reimbursement.

Federal law prohibits buying or selling organs for transplantation, but Cartwright said his proposal aims to address a dire organ shortage while saving the government money.

He estimates that eliminating the nation's bloated organ wait list could save more than $5.5 billion per year in medical costs for people with end-stage renal disease.

Cartwright said it's “a national outrage that 22 people die every day waiting for a transplant.”

“The current system is not working, and the only way to find out what would make it work is to try something new,” Cartwright told the Tribune-Review. “I have support on both sides of the aisle because people understand we need to try something different.”

The congressman emphasized that his plan would not pay donors for their organs but simply provide an incentive to donate. To avoid corruption, an ethics control board would monitor the program, and the rewards would not be transferable to other people, he said.

The legislation also would call for donors to be reimbursed for time off work and travel and costs associated with the surgery, which can be prohibitive."

Matching refugees to towns in Britain: Tim Harford in the FT

In the Financial Times, Tim Harford writes about resettling refugees: The refugee crisis — match us if you can--‘However many refugees we decide to resettle, there’s no excuse for doing the process wastefully’

"By balancing competing demands, good matching mechanisms have alleviated real suffering in school systems and organ donation programmes. Now two young Oxford academics, Will Jones of the Refugee Studies Centre and Alexander Teytelboym of the Institute for New Economic Thinking, are trying to persuade governments to use matching mechanisms in the refugee crisis.
Most popular discussions of the crisis focus on how many refugees we in rich countries should accept. Yet other questions matter too. Once nations, or groups of countries, have decided to resettle a certain number of refugees from temporary camps, to which country should they go? Or within a country, to which area?
Different answers have been tried over the years, from randomly dispersing refugees to using the best guesses of officials, as they juggle the preferences of local communities with what they imagine the refugees might want.
In fact, this is a classic matching problem. Different areas have different capabilities. Some have housing but few school places; others have school places but few jobs; still others have an established community of refugees from a particular region. And refugee families have their own skills, needs and desires.
This is not so different a problem from allocating trainee doctors to teaching hospitals, or children to schools, or even kidneys to compatible recipients. In each case, we can get a better match through a matching mechanism. However many refugees we decide to resettle, there’s no excuse for doing the process wastefully.
There is no perfect mechanism for matching refugees to communities — there are too many variables at play — but there are some clear parameters: housing is a major constraint, as is the availability of medical care. Simple systems exist, or could be developed, that should make the process more efficient, stable and dignified."

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Aumann Lecture (video): Economists as Engineers: Game Theory and Market Design

Here's a video of my Aumann Lecture last week in Israel--I took as my starting point Bob's 1985 paper "What is Game Theory Trying to Accomplish?"

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

A National Academy of Sciences report on kidney exchange, and market design

As part of their outreach to the general public, the National Academy of Sciences has initiated a series of  reports called A NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES SERIES ABOUT SCIENTIFIC DISCOVERY AND HUMAN BENEFIT: FROM RESEARCH TO REWARD

The first of these is about kidney exchange (mostly) and market design:
Matching Kidney Donors with Those Who Need Them—and Other Explorations in Economics by Nancy Shute

It has some nice graphics, and starts off this way:

"In the news, economists are often portrayed as number crunchers hidden away in universities. But they also journey out into the world, discovering problems and then charting a course to a solution. By applying economic theories to the shortage of kidneys, scientists have been able to save lives, cut medical costs, and reduce misery. Their innovations have spurred medical progress.

“Economics is about the real world,” said Alvin Roth, a Stanford University economist, when he won the Nobel Prize in 2012 for his work on matching markets, including the kidney donor matching problem."
You can download a pdf version (without the nice graphics) here: Annotated version

Monday, May 23, 2016

The Transplant Donation Global Leadership Symposium

I'll be in Del Mar for the next few days to speak and hear about transplant practices around the world.
Here's the conference announcement:

The Transplant Donation Global Leadership Symposium is a unique learning experience to explore best practices and innovation to address the most pressing leadership challenges facing the organ and tissue donation and transplantation fields. Robust dialogue and collaborative team work among 75 select attendees build relationships spanning the globe, and participants leave with broadened leadership skills, innovative ideas, and expanded professional networks.
The GLS brings together a faculty of international leaders and innovators in donation, transplantation, leadership, and management. This year the GLS is honored to have Al Roth, the Nobel Prize winning economist whose work in market theory enabled the development of kidney matching algorithms that help make living donor chains possible. Dr. Roth is continuing his work in our field with a focus on public education and donor registries, applying economic science to help identify effective interventions. 
Delmonico Roth Rees Ashlagi    
ABOVE: Francis L. Delmonico, MD, Alvin E. Roth, Michael Reese, MD, Itai Ashlage
Along with Dr. Roth, the faculty will share their knowledge and expertise in order to meet these objectives:
  • Analyze donation systems in place around the globe and develop strategies to improve each element in his/her home country and organization;
  • Explore the distinct skills and roles required for a successful donation program and the interpersonal leadership talents required to ensure seamless collaboration;
  • Identify the cultural and ethical foundations that lead to diversity in donation around the world and ways to bridge these differences to maximize donation everywhere; and
  • Examine leadership opportunities and challenges in emerging donation and transplantation practices.
The following topics will be presented in order to meet these objectives:
  • International Best Practices
  • International Donation Improvement
  • Political, Financial, Legal and Ethical Foundations of Organ Donation
  • Organizational and Operational Elements of Successful Donation Programs
  • Leadership and Team Building
  • Professional and Public Education
If you are a health professional coordinating donors for transplantation, a transplant coordinator wishing to expand your knowledge, abilities and capacities, a manager in charge of a donation or transplant program or department of a program, or an official charged with developing an organ donation and transplantation system, please join us May 22-26, 2016  at the L'Auberge Del Mar, Del Mar.  If you are interested in a scholarship application, please click here.
Mone Signature   
Tom Mone
CEO &  Executive V.P.
 OL Logo large                
Susan Gunderson

LifeSource, The Upper Midwest Organ Procurement Organization, Inc.
Howard M. Nathan
CEO & President

Gift of Life Donor Program
Founder & President,
Gift of Institute
GOL Inst logo_Smaller              
Marti Manyalich

TPM University of Barcelona
TPM DTI               



  • When

  • Sunday, May 22, 2016 - Thursday, May 26, 2016
    3:00 PM - 12:30 PM
    Pacific SA Time
  • Where

  • L'Auberge Del Mar
    1540 Camino Del Mar
    Del Mar, California 92014

Sunday, May 22, 2016

The UAE may soon allow organ transplants

The Gulf News has the story. (I hadn't realized that transplantation was a repugnant transaction in the United Arab Emirates. In fact it sounds as if they still have a way to go...)

The UAE may soon allow organ transplant--Some 68% of respondents on a UAE national survey said they were willing to donate organs if they were brain-dead

"The deceased organ donation programme, which is now available in all other GCC countries except for the UAE, might soon become a reality in this country too, said Dr Farhad Janahi, assistant professor and renowned kidney transplant surgeon at Mohammad Bin Rashid University of Medicine and Health Sciences (MBRU) at the Dubai Health Care City (DHCC).
"Dr Janahi told Gulf News: “At present there are over 2,000 kidney patients on dialysis in the UAE on a waiting list for kidney transplants alone. Deceased organ donation programme is now a reality in all other Gulf Cooperation Council countries and this survey’s findings indicate that the people of UAE are ready for a new law on deceased organ donation.”
"The results of this survey were presented at the first UAE Organ Donation forum held last week at the DHCC which was held under the patronage of the Chairperson of Dubai Health Care City Authority (DHCCA), Princess Haya Bint Al Hussain, wife of His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, and was attended by 50 transplant experts, religious leaders and donors, among other attendees, and also highlighted means to expand organ transplantation services in the UAE.
"Dr Amer Ahmad Sharif, chief executive officer, Education Sector, DHCCA, said, “Creating a platform such as the first UAE Organ Donation Forum to discuss legislations, exchange ideas will help us reduce the gap between the demand and supply of human organs for transplantation.”

Clearinghouses for IOU's in the 13th through 18th centuries: by Borner and Hatfield

Here's a market design/economic history paper about early financial clearinghouses, forthcoming in the Journal of Political Economy:

The Design of Debt Clearing Markets: Clearinghouse Mechanisms in Pre-Industrial Europe
Lars Borner, and John William Hatfield

We examine the evolution of the decentralized clearinghouse mechanisms that were
in use throughout Europe from the 13th century to the 18th century; in particular,
we explore the clearing of non- or limited-tradable debts like bills of exchange. We
construct a theoretical model of these clearinghouse mechanisms and show that the
specific decentralized multilateral clearing algorithms known as rescontre, skontrieren
or virement des parties, used by merchants in this period, were efficient in specific historical
contexts. Our analysis contributes to the understanding of both the emergence
and evolution of these mechanisms during late medieval and early modern fairs and
their robustness during the 17th and 18th centuries.