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.


"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."

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..."

Friday, November 9, 2018

Marijuana scores some gains in the voting booth

The NY Times has the story:
Marijuana Embraced in Michigan, Utah and Missouri, but Rejected in North Dakota

"Marijuana initiatives appeared on ballots in four states in the midterm elections. In Michigan and North Dakota, initiatives gave voters the opportunity to legalize marijuana for recreational use. In Missouri and Utah, voters chose whether to allow people who are sick to use the drug for medical reasons."

See my earlier post:

Friday, October 6, 2017

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Arrow lecture at Columbia University this evening

The 11th Annual Kenneth J. Arrow Lecture | Market Design in Large Worlds: The Example of Kidney Exchange
Thursday, November 8, 2018
6:00 pm - 7:30 pm
International Affairs Building, 420 W. 118 St., New York, NY 10027 1501

Please join us for the 11th Annual Kenneth J. Arrow Lecture delivered by Alvin Roth, the 2012 Nobel Laureate in Economic Sciences and Craig and Susan McCaw Professor of Economics at Stanford University, on "Market Design in Large Worlds: The Example of Kidney Exchange."
Discussants: Parag Pathak, Jane Berkowitz Carlton and Dennis William Carlton Professor of Microeconomics at MIT
Joseph E. Stiglitz, 2001 Nobel Laureate in Economic Sciences and University Professor at Columbia University Description:

Abstract: "Marketplaces are often small parts of large markets, and so potential marketplace participants may have large strategy sets, that include actions taken outside of the marketplace. And markets require social support, so the behavior of people who do not intend to participate in the market may nevertheless be important for market design. This lecture will illustrate these points with some examples, drawing most heavily on the experience of kidney exchange."

About the Kenneth J. Arrow Lecture Series: Kenneth J. Arrow’s work has shaped the course of economics for the past sixty years so deeply that, in a sense, every modern economist is his student. His ideas, style of research, and breadth of vision have been a model for generations of the boldest, most creative, and most inventive economists. His work has yielded such seminal theorems as general equilibrium, social choice, and endogenous growth, proving that simple ideas have a profound impact. The Kenneth J. Arrow Lecture Series highlights economists, from Nobel laureates to groundbreaking younger scholars, whose work builds on Arrow’s scholarship as well as his innovative spirit. The books in the series are an expansion of the lectures that are held in Arrow's honor at Columbia University.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Kidney exchange needs to be conducted at scale, in Vox

Nikhil Agarwal, Itai Ashlagi, Eduardo Azevedo, Clayton Featherstone,  and Omer Karaduman summarize their recent paper in Vox..eu:

Market failure in kidney exchange
03 November 2018

National kidney exchange platforms significantly boost the number of life-saving kidney transplants by finding complicated exchange arrangements that are not possible within any single hospital. This column examines US data and finds that the majority of kidney exchanges continue to be performed within hospitals, suggesting a fragmented market that comes at a large efficiency cost. National platforms may need to be redesigned to encourage full participation, with reimbursement reform.