Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Robot-assisted kidney transplantation in Ahmedabad, India.

I just returned from a very interesting visit to Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India, part of which was at the Trivedi Institute of Transplantation Sciences. There I had the privilege of sitting in on a robot-assisted kidney transplant operation conducted by Dr. Pranjal Modi. In the picture below, Dr. Modi is seated at the robot, that he operates with his hands and feet, while I watch on a screen, behind which is the patient (surrounded by doctors maintaining the various instruments inside him, through small incisions).

Dr. Pranjal R. Modi at the robot controls, while I watch him perform a kidney transplant.

Below is the two-dimensional image in which I followed what he was doing (but when he looks through the binoculars of the robot, he sees it in very clear 3 dimensions).

The high magnification is apparently a big aid to fast and precise surgery, which (together with small incisions) is one of the attractions of robotic surgery.

The robot was made by Da Vinci.
I think this is the patient-facing part of the particular robot being used:

Monday, May 20, 2019

Management Science’s 65th Anniversary Conference, May 20-21, Boston University

Management Science’s 65th Anniversary Conference
May 20 – 21, 2019
Boston University Questrom School of Business

"2019 marks the publication of the 65th volume of Management Science. To celebrate this anniversary, the editorial board is organizing a conference at Questrom School of Business, Boston University, from May 20th to May 21st, 2019. The focus of the conference is “Innovations in the Science and Practice of Management,” with an emphasis on integrating theory and practice. "

Here's the conference program.  It appears it will be a single stream, without parallel sessions.

It includes some talks explicitly labelled as market design, including, on Monday,
10:30 – 11:15 am Market Design, Behavioral and Experimental Economics and Management
Prof. Yan Chen, University of Michigan
Prof. Peter Cramton, University of Maryland
Prof. Axel Ockenfels, University of Cologne

And my talk on Tuesday,
Operational aspects of market design: the case of kidney exchange
By Itai Ashlagi and Al Roth

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Gail Cornwall responds to the recent NY Times story on SF schools

Gail Cornwall, who follows San Francisco schools, replies to a recent article in the NY Times:

A cautionary tale about linking school choice and segregation

"Late last month, New York Times’ national education reporter Dana Goldstein wrote about public school choice and segregated schools in San Francisco. Headlined San Francisco Had an Ambitious Plan to Tackle School Segregation. It Made It Worse, the story hits several nails squarely on the head.
"But there are several important weaknesses in Goldstein’s article that could mislead parents, readers, and policymakers.
"The piece lays blame for segregation at the feet of San Francisco’s citywide public school choice system. It oversimplifies the views and priorities of lower-income non-white families. And, though Goldstein told me it wasn’t meant to, the article seems to endorse a controversial return to a restriction of choice in favor of a form of neighborhood attendance zones."

Here's my earlier post on the NY Times article:

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

I've blogged about other articles by Ms. Cornwall.

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Yale SOM celebrates Vahideh Manshadi on the benefits of scale in kidney exchange

In Yale Insights (from Yale SOM):

Kidney Exchange Registries Should Collaborate to Save More Lives

"The results were surprising, says Manshadi. “We didn’t find any evidence that higher-frequency match runs were reducing the overall number of transplants by depleting the pool of potential donors. The total number of transplants remained stable.”

"What the researchers did find, however, was an unexpectedly high number of patients in both programs whose antibodies made them hard to match—what are called sensitized patients.

“The majority of patients in these programs are sensitized,” Manshadi says. “These patients have such high levels of antibodies in their blood that they are more likely to reject a donor organ. Frequent or infrequent matching will have little effect on them because it’s so much harder to find a donor whose kidney they can accept.”

"The best way of improving the outlook for these patients, says Manshadi, is to ensure they are prioritized when searching for matches. That, and find new ways of increasing—and diversifying—the number and range of donors coming into exchange programs. "

And here's the original paper:

Effect of match‐run frequencies on the number of transplants and waiting times in kidney exchange
Itai Ashlagi  Adam Bingaman  Maximilien Burq  Vahideh Manshadi  David Gamarnik  Cathi Murphey  Alvin E. Roth  Marc L. Melcher  Michael A. Rees, American Journal of Transplantation, Volume18, Issue5, May 2018, Pages 1177-1186
First published: 31 October 2017 https://doi.org/10.1111/ajt.14566

Numerous kidney exchange (kidney paired donation [KPD]) registries in the United States have gradually shifted to high‐frequency match‐runs, raising the question of whether this harms the number of transplants. We conducted simulations using clinical data from 2 KPD registries—the Alliance for Paired Donation, which runs multihospital exchanges, and Methodist San Antonio, which runs single‐center exchanges—to study how the frequency of match‐runs impacts the number of transplants and the average waiting times. We simulate the options facing each of the 2 registries by repeated resampling from their historical pools of patient‐donor pairs and nondirected donors, with arrival and departure rates corresponding to the historical data. We find that longer intervals between match‐runs do not increase the total number of transplants, and that prioritizing highly sensitized patients is more effective than waiting longer between match‐runs for transplanting highly sensitized patients. While we do not find that frequent match‐runs result in fewer transplanted pairs, we do find that increasing arrival rates of new pairs improves both the fraction of transplanted pairs and waiting times.

Friday, May 17, 2019

Repugnant phrasing

Japan's labor and immigration policies have been more restrictive than welcoming to an immigrant/migrant labor force.  So one can imagine a cheerful headline saying that was about to change, something along the lines of the final paragraph quoted below.  I don't think the following WSJ headline quite does the trick:

Japan Aims to Hire Foreigners for Nuclear Cleanup
The country’s largest utility is working to decommission the Fukushima plant amid radiation risks at the site of the 2011 disaster

"TOKYO—Japan’s largest utility is looking to foreign blue-collar workers to help decommission its Fukushima Daiichi nuclear-power plant amid a labor shortage exacerbated by radiation risks at the site of the 2011 nuclear disaster.

"Tokyo Electric Power Co. , or Tepco, said Thursday it has informed dozens of contractors that foreigners could qualify for a new type of visa that allows manual workers to stay in the country for five years. Workers who enter areas with elevated radiation would need sufficient Japanese-language skills to comprehend radiation levels and safety instructions, a Tepco spokeswoman said.

"The move is a shift in strategy for Tepco, which hasn’t employed large numbers of blue-collar foreigners at the Fukushima plant. As of February, there were 29 foreign workers, the spokeswoman said.

"Under a new law that went into effect this month, Japan plans to open its doors to about 340,000 workers over the next five years to help fill job vacancies in chronically understaffed industries such as construction and nursing care. The new law also creates another type of visa for higher-skilled blue-collar workers who can stay indefinitely."

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Market design workshop, NBER October 18-19, 2019 in Cambridge.

Here's the call for papers

To:     NBER Market Design Working Group
From:   Michael Ostrovsky and Parag Pathak

The National Bureau of Economic Research workshop on Market Design is
a forum to discuss new academic research related to the design of
market institutions, broadly defined.
The next meeting will be held in Cambridge, MA on October 18 & 19, 2019.

We welcome new and interesting research, and are happy to see papers
from a variety of fields. Participants in the past meeting covered a
range of topics and methodological approaches.
Last year's program can be viewed at: http://papers.nber.org/sched/MDf18.

The conference does not publish proceedings or issue NBER working
papers - most of the presented papers are presumed to be published
later in journals.

There is no requirement to be an NBER-affiliated researcher to
participate. Younger researchers are especially encouraged to submit papers.

If you are interested in presenting a paper this year, please upload
a PDF version by August 1, 2019 to this link:

Preference will be given to papers for which at least a preliminary
draft is ready by the time of submission. Only authors of accepted
papers will be contacted.

For presenters in North America, the NBER will cover the travel and
hotel costs. For speakers from outside North America, while the NBER
will not be able to cover the airfare, it can provide
support for hotel accommodation.

There are a limited number of spaces available for graduate students
to attend the conference, though we cannot cover their costs. Please
email ppathak@mit.edu a short nominating paragraph.

Please forward this announcement to any potentially interested
scholars. We look forward to hearing from you.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Finding out what employers value in a candidate, without deception, by Kessler, Low and Sullivan

Many experiments designed to detect how employers evaluate applications employ deception: artificial applications are sent to employers in response to advertisements of job openings, and the responses are recorded. This involves deception (to get employers to devote resources to fake applications).  Here's a design that seeks the same information without deception.

Incentivized Resume Rating: Eliciting Employer Preferences without Deception

Judd B. KesslerCorinne LowColin Sullivan

NBER Working Paper No. 25800
Issued in May 2019 
"We introduce a new experimental paradigm to evaluate employer preferences, called Incentivized Resume Rating (IRR). Employers evaluate resumes they know to be hypothetical in order to be matched with real job seekers, preserving incentives while avoiding the deception necessary in audit studies. We deploy IRR with employers recruiting college seniors from a prestigious school, randomizing human capital characteristics and demographics of hypothetical candidates. We measure both employer preferences for candidates and employer beliefs about the likelihood candidates will accept job offers, avoiding a typical confound in audit studies. We discuss the costs, benefits, and future applications of this new methodology."