Thursday, September 23, 2021

Police assignments by seniority in Chicago

 Here's a recent NBER working paper reporting a study of the assignment of police officers in Chicago, where some officers can choose to transfer to newly vacant positions, with priority determined by seniority. The resulting allocation reveals that more senior officers move to assignments with lower levels of violent crime.

Police Officer Assignment and Neighborhood Crime  by Bocar Ba, Patrick Bayer, Nayoung Rim, Roman Rivera & Modibo Sidibé  WORKING PAPER 29243, DOI 10.3386/w29243,  September 2021

Abstract: We develop an empirical model of the mechanism used to assign police officers to Chicago districts and examine the efficiency and equity of alternative allocations. We document that the current bidding process, which grants priority based on seniority, results in the assignment of more experienced officers to less violent and high-income neighborhoods. Our empirical model combines estimates of heterogeneous officer preferences underlying the bidding process with causal estimates of the effects of officer experience on neighborhood crime. Equalizing officer seniority across districts would reduce violent crime rate by 4.6 percent and significantly decrease inequality in crime, discretionary arrests, and officer use of force across neighborhoods. Moreover, this assignment can be achieved in a revenue-neutral way while resulting in small welfare gains for police officers, implying that it is more equitable and efficient.

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Congratulations to 51 new Econometric Society Fellows of 2021

 This year there are 51 new Fellows of the Econometric Society:

Congratulations to our 2021 Fellows  

Jaap Abbring, Tilburg University

Chunrong Ai, Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shenzhen

Ufuk Akcigit, University of Chicago

Simon Board, University of California, Los Angeles

Antonio Cabrales, Universidad Carlos III, Madrid

Arnaud Costinot, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Peter Cramton, University of Cologne and University of Maryland (Emeritus)

Stefano Dellavigna, University of California, Berkeley

Prosper Dovonon, Concordia University, Montreal

Christian Dustmann, University College London

Graham Elliot, University of California, San Diego

Marcella Eslava, Universidad de los Andes

Armin Falk, University of Bonn

Oded Galor, Brown University

Yuriy Gorodnichenko, University of California, Berkeley

Veronica Guerrieri, University of Chicago

Luigi Guiso, Einaudi Institute for Economics and Finance

Bard Harstad, University of Oslo

Erik Hurst, University of Chicago

Patrick Kline, University of California, Berkeley

Fuhito Kojima, University of Tokyo

Botond Koszegi, Central European University

Rim Lahmandi-Ayed, University of Carthage

John Leahy, University of Michigan

Sydney Ludvigson, New York University

Ulrike Malmendier, University of California, Berkeley

Ramon Marimon, European University Institute

Alexandre Mas, Princeton University

Atif Mian, Princeton University

Magne Mogstad, University of Chicago

Benjamin Moll, London School of Economics

Sendhil Mullainathan, University of Chicago

Victor Murinde, SOAS University of London

Emi Nakamura, University of California, Berkeley

Volker Nocke, University of Mannheim

Nathan Nunn, Harvard University

Rohini Pande, Yale University

Bruce Preston, University of Melbourne

James Robinson, University of Chicago

Christina Romer, University of California, Berkeley

Antoinette Schoar, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Matthew Shum, California Institute of Technology

Rohini Somanathan, Delhi School of Economics and University of Gothenberg

Stefanie Stantcheva, Harvard University

Wing Suen, University of Hong Kong

Balazs Szentes, London School of Economics

Silvana Tenreyro, London School of Economics

Aleh Tsyvinski, Yale University

Nicolas Vieille, HEC, Paris

Ebonya Washington, Yale University

Ekaterina Zhuravskaya, Paris School of Economics

 The Society is grateful for the work of its 2021 Fellows Nominating Committee consisting of Dirk Bergemann (Chair), Xiaohong Chen, Itzhak Gilboa, Kate Ho, Dilip Mookherjee, Monika Piazzesi, and Hélène Rey. 

Publication Date: Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Repugnance watch: Gender-affirming medical care for transgender adolescents becomes a crime in Arkansas

 Here's a recent article in repugnance to certain kinds of medical care involving transgender children as they approach puberty:

Increasing Criminalization of Gender-Affirming Care for Transgender Youths—A Politically Motivated Crisis by Benjamin C. Park, BS1; Rishub K. Das, BA1; Brian C. Drolet, MD, JAMA Pediatr. Published online September 13, 2021. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2021.2969

"On April 6, 2021, Arkansas passed Act 626, to be known as the “Arkansas Save Adolescents From Experimentation (SAFE) Act,”1 thus becoming the first state to outlaw gender-affirming care (GAC) for transgender youth. Many other states are considering similar bills, some of which include provisions that impose criminal penalties on health care professionals.

"Although Act 626 is among the more severe examples of antitransgender legislation, the United States has a history of similar legislation. Since 2015, coordinated attacks against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) rights have escalated in an unprecedented fashion. The targets of these attacks have shifted from marriage equality, bathroom access, and sports participation to the most recent attacks on transgender youths and their bodies. Act 626 is a part of recent nationwide efforts to limit access to GAC for transgender youths. This year represents a critical time for transgender young people, with new bills targeting their access to health care in at least 21 states.

"Approximately 1.4 million adults (0.6% of adults in the United States) and 150 000 youths (0.7% of youths aged 13-17 years in the US) identify as transgender.2 A large body of research dedicated to transgender health indicates that GAC, including prescribing or using puberty blockers such as gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonists, (GnRHa), hormone therapy (eg, testosterone or estrogen therapy), and gender-affirming surgery, is medically necessary for patients experiencing gender dysphoria.3 The discordant effects of societal gender roles and gendered activities on transgender youths are exacerbated during puberty, when masculinizing and feminizing anatomical changes take place. Transgender youths may find that pubertal changes worsen the dissonance between their anatomy and their gender identity, contributing to gender dysphoria and increasing the risk for negative health outcomes."


You can find the bill here (the first link gives you the text of the bill in pdf):


The act is long and explains itself as protective of children from medical procedures it regards as unproven. This looks like the action paragraph directed at physicians:

"20-9-1502. Prohibition of gender transition procedures for minors.

"(a) A physician or other healthcare professional shall not provide gender transition procedures to any individual under eighteen (18) years of age.

"(b) A physician, or other healthcare professional shall not refer any 17 individual under eighteen (18) years of age to any healthcare professional for gender transition procedures."

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Modern peer review: how it evolved since the 1950's in Sociology

 Peer review is a big part of the design of modern academic publishing in scholarly journals. It wasn't always that way, and the current peer review system is pretty modern. Here's an account of its development in the discipline of Sociology, since the 1950's (which is similar to what we see in Economics, except that it appears Sociology relies substantially more on double-blind reviews).

Merriman, B. Peer Review as an Evolving Response to Organizational Constraint: Evidence from Sociology Journals, 1952–2018. The American Sociologist 52, 341–366 (2021).

"Abstract: Double-blind peer review is a central feature of the editorial model of most journals in sociology and neighboring social scientific fields, yet there is little history of how and when its main features developed. Drawing from nearly 70 years of annual reports of the editors of American Sociological Association journals, this article describes the historical emergence of major elements of editorial peer review. These reports and associated descriptive statistics are used to show that blind review, ad hoc review, the formal requirement of exclusive submission, routine use of the revise and resubmit decision, and common use of desk rejection developed separately over a period of decades. The article then argues that the ongoing evolution of the review model has not been driven by intellectual considerations. Rather, the evolution of peer review is best understood as the product of continuous efforts to steward editors’ scarce attention while preserving an open submission policy that favors authors’ interests."

From the introduction:

"In the main, editors are faculty members who operate a journal concurrently with ordinary work responsibilities; some receive modest, fixed remuneration, but editors have no strong financial interest in the journals they edit, and commonly serve for fixed or periodically renewed terms. (For most current journals, the economic interest rests primarily with one of a handful of large commercial publishers.) Journals do not restrict submissions by status criteria such as institutional affiliation or academic rank, and submission ordinarily carries little or no money cost, even at journals where authors assume a large part of the eventual expense of publication. Authors are expected to submit a given work exclusively to a single journal. After initial screening, submissions to a typical journal undergo double-blind review, in which the identities of authors and reviewers are not known to one another. Most evaluations of submitted manuscripts are produced by scholars who are not part of the appointed editorial staff of the journal. Work that is published has ordinarily undergone at least one formal round of revision and resubmission in response to the substance of external evaluations.


"At ASA journals, blind review, external review, exclusive submission, the formal revise and resubmit decision, and a developmental (rather than advisory) model of assessment developed in succession over a period of more than 30 years. In the twenty-first Century, persistent difficulties in obtaining timely reviews prompted a rapid, order of magnitude increase in frequency of rejections without review, commonly called desk rejections. Blind review was the only feature of the present model adopted at an ASA journal with an explicitly stated, unambiguously intellectual aim. This article argues that the other features of the current peer review model emerged as improvised efforts to balance two competing organizational imperatives: editors must steward scarce time and attention, but have also sought to render reasonably timely decisions without a priori exclusion of large numbers of prospective authors or capricious rejection of submissions. This pattern in journal operations in many ways reflects larger structural changes in sociology: rapid expansion of the field in the mid-to-late twentieth Century was succeeded by increasing competition in the academic labor market and heightened publishing expectations for tenure and promotion."

A snippet from the body of the paper:

"Ad hoc review, in which manuscripts are referred to scholars not formally affiliated with the journal organization, did not become an integral feature of the ordinary reviewing process until the early 1970s. Before then, virtually all evaluations were produced by members of journal editorial boards. Exclusive submission to a single journal also did not become a rule until the 1970s, and there is suggestive evidence that simultaneous submission to multiple journals may have been somewhat common until that time.

"At first, reviewing was plainly intended to aid to the work of the editor; the occasional value of reviews to authors was taken as an incidental benefit. The evolution of a developmental model of review oriented toward the author was gradual, as was the emergence of the revise and resubmit decision as a nearly unavoidable intermediate step on the path to publication."


And in conclusion:

"A primary constraint on editorial innovation is, of course, the professional and status structure of academic disciplines. An extensive body of research on disciplines, and on higher educational institutions more generally, has shown a powerful isomorphic tendency: such structures tend to converge on a given form of practice even if all the actors are wholly aware of its inadequacies. Further, change in such practices will, under most circumstances, be slow: individual academic advancement involves regularly submitting oneself to the judgment of the more experienced members of a discipline according to the standards those more experienced scholars impose. Those who may have the freshest view of an intellectual field, and perhaps a greater impulse to explore new lines of work, also face the strongest pressures to invest their time and effort conservatively in the oldest means of publicizing their work.

"Efforts to change publishing norms therefore stand a much greater chance of success if they are adopted first, or early, by actors who occupy central places in a field, or if they are given the strong, credible endorsement of such actors (Starbuck 2016: 178). Conversations about academic publishing models, especially their relative unresponsiveness to changing circumstances in the twenty-first Century, often possess a degree of fatalism. But the development of editorial peer review itself is an important reminder of how rapidly a good idea may spread."

HT: Retraction Watch

Monday, September 20, 2021

Keeping the market for new economists thick: AEA guidelines on timing of interviews

 Below are some guidelines suggested by the American Economic Association for the conduct of this year's job market for new Ph.D.s

AEA Guidance on Timeline for 2021-22 Economics Job Cycle

"The AEA Executive Committee, in conjunction with its ad hoc Committee on the Job Market, recognizes that it is to the benefit of the profession if the job market for economists is thick, with many employers and job candidates participating in the same stages at the same time.  Moreover, the AEA's goals of fairness, inclusion, and diversity are fostered by having a timeline that remains widely accepted, even as public health conditions necessitate a virtual ASSA meeting again this year. With these goals in mind, and in light of inquiries from both students and departments about how to proceed, the Association asks that departments and other employers consider the following timeline for initial interviews and “flyouts” in the upcoming job cycle.

Interview invitations
The AEA suggests that employers wait to extend interview invitations until at least Thursday, December 2, 2021.

Rationale: the AEA will deliver signals from job candidates to employers on December 1. We suggest that employers review those signals and incorporate them into their decision-making before extending interview invitations. Job candidates from under-represented groups may lack informal networks and thus, may especially rely on the signals to convey their interest. Waiting to review the signals before issuing invitations promotes a fairer, more equitable process.

We also ask that all employers indicate on EconTrack when they have extended interview invitations; this allows candidates to learn about the status of searches without visiting websites posting crowd-sourced information and potentially inappropriate other content.

The AEA suggests that employers conduct initial interviews starting on Monday, January 3, 2022, and that all interviews take place virtually; i.e. either by phone or online (e.g. by Zoom). We suggest that interviews not take place during the AEA meeting itself (January 7-9, 2022).

Rationale: In the past, interviews were conducted in person at the AEA/ASSA meetings. This promoted thickness of the market, because most candidates and employers were present at the in-person meetings, but had the disadvantage of precluding both job candidates and interviewers from fully participating in AEA/ASSA sessions. Given that the 2022 AEA/ASSA meetings will be entirely virtual, we suggest that interviews NOT take place on the meeting dates to allow job candidates and interviewers to participate in the conference.

We recommend that employers wait until January 3 to interview candidates because job candidates may have teaching or TA responsibilities in December, and to ensure that candidates have accurate expectations of the timing of the stages of the market. An unraveling of the market works against the Association’s goal of having a thick market at each stage and also against candidates having uniform expectations of the market’s timing. All interviews should be conducted by phone or online to prevent risk of exposure to COVID, and to promote equity among the candidates.

Flyouts and offers
Flyouts and offers generally happen at times appropriate for the employer, and the AEA sees no reason to suggest otherwise.  We ask that all employers indicate on EconTrack when they have extended flyout invitations and closed their searches.

Job market institutions and mechanisms
Please keep in mind the various job market institutions and mechanisms created by the AEA to improve the job market:

Thank you for your attention to this initiative."

Sunday, September 19, 2021

Stanford welcomes students back to campus

Starting tomorrow, we'll have classes in person, indoors, masked.

Saturday, September 18, 2021

Surrogacy law under review in New Zealand

 From the U. of Canterbury:

Who are my parents? Why New Zealand’s ‘creaky’ surrogacy laws are overdue for major reform by Debra Wilson, Annick Masselot,  and Martha Ceballos 

"several separate pieces of legislation cover the two types of surrogacy: gestational, where the child is not genetically related to the surrogate parent; and traditional, where the child is genetically related.

The resulting legal confusion is now the subject of a Law Commission review, which proposes significant reform based on the guiding principle that “the best interests of the child should be paramount”.

Right now, that cannot be said of the way surrogate children and their parents are treated under law that even judges have described as “creaky” and “inadequate”.


Surrogacy is regulated through the Human Assisted Reproductive Technology Act, which prohibits commercial surrogacy and requires gestational surrogacy to be approved by an ethics committee.

But that act is silent on the legal parentage of the child, leaving this to be determined by the Status of Children Act. Effectively, the woman who gives birth and her partner (if the partner consents to the assisted reproduction) are the child’s legal parents.

This means the intended parents have no legal rights to the child – even if they are the genetic parents – until they adopt the child under the Adoption Act.

But legal parentage is important. Legal parents transfer citizenship to their children and act on their behalf, such as giving consent to medical treatment or travel."

Friday, September 17, 2021

Lectures on equilibrium in markets for indivisible goods at U. Tokyo by Teytelboym, Baldwin and Jagadeesan, Sept 21-24

 Towards a general theory of markets with indivisible goods: special lectures at The University of Tokyo Market Design Center (UTMD)

September 21-24, 2021 (Japan time) 


Fuhito Kojma, Director, UTokyo Market Design Center, and Professor, the University of Tokyo

Michihiro Kandori: Vice Director, UTokyo Market Design Center, and University Professor, the University of Tokyo

Yuichiro Kamada: Associate Professor, UC Berkeley, and Global Fellow, the University of Tokyo

Venue: Zoom online  Language: English


*All times shown below are Japan time.

*Each lecture will be followed by 30 minutes Q&A session.

Lecture 1 9/21 (Tue) 16:00-17:30

Introduction to Markets for Indivisible Goods (by Alexander Teytelboym)

In many settings, such as auctions, the indivisibility of goods is a key market feature. But in markets with indivisible goods, competitive equilibria might not exist.  We explore conditions, such as substitutability of goods, that ensure existence of competitive equilibria. We also discuss connections between conditions for existence, tâtonnement, and cooperative properties of equilibria.

Lecture 2 9/22 (Wed) 16:00-17:30

The geometry of preferences: demand types, equilibrium with Indivisibilities, and bidding languages (by Elizabeth Baldwin)

An equivalence theorem between geometric structures and utility functions allows new methods for understanding preferences. Our classification of valuations into “Demand Types”, incorporates existing definitions regarding the comparative statics of demand (substitutes, complements, “strong substitutes”, etc.) and permits new ones. Our Unimodularity Theorem generalises previous results about when competitive equilibrium exists for any set of agents whose valuations are all of a “demand type”. Contrary to popular belief, equilibrium is guaranteed for more classes of purely-complements, than of purely-substitutes, preferences. Our Intersection Count Theorem checks equilibrium existence for combinations of agents with specific valuations by counting the intersection points of geometric objects. Applications include the “Product-Mix Auction” introduced by the Bank of England in response to the financial crisis. In that context, we show that all substitutes preferences can be represented, and no other preferences can be represented, by appropriate sets of permitted bids in the Substitutes Product-Mix Auction language; an analogous result holds for strong substitutes, when we refine the characteristics of the language. These languages thus also provide new characterizations of (all) substitutes, and of strong substitutes, respectively.

Lecture 3 9/23 (Thu) 16:00-17:30 The Equilibrium Existence Duality (by Alexander Teytelboym)

We show that, with indivisible goods, the existence of competitive equilibrium fundamentally depends on agents’ substitution effects, not their income effects. Our Equilibrium Existence Duality allows us to transport results on the existence of competitive equilibrium from settings with transferable utility to settings with income effects. One consequence is that net substitutability—which is a strictly weaker condition than gross substitutability—is sufficient for the existence of competitive equilibrium. Further applications give new existence results beyond the case of (net) substitutes. Our results have implications for auction design.

Lecture 4 9/24 (Fri) 09:30-11:00 Matching and Prices (by Ravi Jagadeesan)

Indivisibilities and budget constraints are pervasive features of many matching markets. But gross substitutability — a standard condition on preferences in matching models — typically fails in such markets. To accommodate budget constraints and other income effects, we instead assume that agents’ preferences satisfy net substitutability. Although competitive equilibria do not generally exist in our setting, we show that stable outcomes always exist and are efficient. We illustrate how the flexibility of prices is critical for our results. We also discuss how budget constraints and other income effects affect the properties of standard auction and matching procedures, as well as of the set of stable outcomes.

  Recorded lecture will be posted on UTMD’s YouTube channel within 6 hours.