Monday, October 15, 2018

Quartz writes about Uber and other tech firms that hire economists

Here's the story, which prominently features Uber's Jonathan Hall:

Uber’s secret weapon is its team of economists
By Alison Griswold, October 14, 2018

"Uber is so fond of economists that it employs more than a dozen PhDs from top programs at its San Francisco headquarters. The group acts as an in-house think tank for Uber, gathering facts from quants and data scientists and synthesizing them to arm the lobbyists and policy folks who fight some of Uber’s biggest battles. Officially, this team is known as “Research and Economics.” Internally, it’s also been called Ubernomics.
"The Krueger paper was the launch pad Ubernomics needed. Over the next few years, the company landed unpaid collaborations with academics at top US universities, including MIT, NYU, and Yale. Hall started to receive dozens of requests a week from academics about working with Uber’s data. Earlier this year, Richard Thaler, winner of the 2017 Nobel Prize in economic sciences, approached Uber about a possible collaboration. Uber turned him down."

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Joshua Gans on blockchains, teams, and the startup (Covee) that wants to combine them

From Joshua Gans, who is one of the most thoughtful commentators on matters digital:

Can the blockchain make teams work?

"For context, here is the problem Covee are trying to solve. When you have teams of knowledge workers who need to come together for a project, we rely on businesses to manage and coordinate those teams. This is because you need to find the right people to perform the team’s tasks and then you need to ensure that everyone does what they are supposed to. Businesses solve that problem by making team members employees and learning about them. They can then use this to review performance and reward or punish them as need be. Covee wants to take the business out of the equation and, as much as possible, replace it with an algorithm on the blockchain. In doing so, it has to automate what the businesses were doing."

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Child marriage in the United States

The Washington Post has the story:

"Between 2000 and 2010, an estimated 248,000 children were married, most of whom were girls, some as young as 12, wedding men. Now, under pressure from advocates and amid a nationwide reckoning over gender equality and sexual misconduct, states have begun ending exceptions that have allowed marriages for people younger than 18, the minimum age in most states. Texas last year banned it, except for emancipated minors. Kentucky outlawed it, except for 17-year-olds with parental and judicial approval. Maryland considered increasing the minimum marrying age from 15, but its bill failed to pass in April. Then in May, Delaware abolished the practice under every circumstance, and New Jersey did the same in June. Pennsylvania, which may vote to eliminate all loopholes this autumn, could be next."

Friday, October 12, 2018

Coffee for personal data

Inside Higher Ed has the story:
Café Swaps Espresso for Personal Info
A Japanese café chain plans to spread among Ivy League and other top campuses, offering free coffee and tea in exchange for students' personal information and consent to be contacted by companies.

"The cashless Shiru cafés give out handmade coffee and tea drinks for free. In exchange, students flash a university ID and, in the bargain, hand over a small cache of personal information: name, age, email address, interests, major and graduation year, among other details. They also agree to be contacted by Shiru’s corporate sponsors, who underwrite all those cappuccinos, matcha lattes and iced Americanos.
"Starbucks, meet LinkedIn … with extra foam.
"[at Brown University]...“I don’t get the feeling from my classmates that they’re trying to reduce their data footprint.”

Thursday, October 11, 2018

An online spot market for lawyers

Need a lawyer, but not a big law firm?  A Britain-based firm, Lexoo, will recommend lawyers they think are appropriate for your case, and let you get bids from them online:

"Lexoo is an online platform for businesses, that lets you easily source and compare quotes from our curated network of specialised commercial lawyers and quality boutique firms, worldwide. Our team of ex-City lawyers with over 45 years of combined legal experience, ensure you only receive proposals from the most suitable lawyers for your work."

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Faculty openings at Stanford Management Science and Engineering

Faculty Openings in MS&E

Position Title
Tenure-track Assistant Professor/Untenured Associate Professor
Position Description
We invite applications from individuals working at the frontiers of Management Science and Engineering, broadly defined, including candidates from engineering and the mathematical, computational, medical, physical, and behavioral and social sciences.
Appointments are to tenure-line junior faculty positions at the Assistant or untenured Associate Professor level. Please visit our website for more information about the MS&E Department at:
An earned PhD, evidence of the ability to pursue a program of research, and a strong commitment to graduate and undergraduate teaching are required. A successful candidate will be expected to teach courses at the graduate and undergraduate levels and to build and lead a team of graduate students in PhD research.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Family consent and opt-in versus opt-out organ donation

Here's a contribution to the discussion on how opt-out versus opt-in deceased donor laws might impact transplantation (as opposed to just registration) in countries in which family consent is needed before a deceased person's organs are donated.

 2018 Aug 16. doi: 10.1037/xap0000183. [Epub ahead of print]

Underlying wishes and nudged choices.


Is the inferred preference of a deceased relative to donate his or her organs stronger when the choice was made under a mandated rather than under an automatic default (i.e., nudged choice) legislative system? The answer to this is particularly important, because families can, and do, veto the choices of their deceased relatives. In three studies, we asked American and European participants from countries that have either a default opt-in or a default opt-out system to take on the role of a third party to judge the likelihood that an individual's "true wish" was to actually donate his or her organs, given that the decedent was registered to donate on the organ donation register. In each study participants were randomly assigned to one of four organ donation legislative systems (default opt-in, default opt-out, mandated choice, mandatory). Overall, regardless of which country participants came from, they perceived the donor's underlying preference to donate as stronger under the default opt-in and mandated choice systems as compared with the default opt-out and mandatory donor systems. We discuss the practical issues that result from using default systems in the domain of organ donation and propose potential ways to ameliorate the uncertainty around inferences of underlying preference from a nudged choice. 
HT Axel Ockenfels

Monday, October 8, 2018

2018 Exeter Prize to Shengwu Li (and a very strong shortlist)

On a day when it's likely that another prize in Economics will be announced (but before it has been), I'm happy to note the following announcement on the ESA googlegroup:

We are happy to announce the winner of the 2018 Exeter Prize for the best paper published in the previous calendar year in a peer-reviewed journal in the fields of Experimental Economics, Behavioural Economics and Decision Theory.
The winner is Shengwu Li (Harvard University) for his paper “Obviously Strategy-Proof Mechanisms”, published in the American Economic Review.
The paper proposes and analyzes a desirable property for mechanisms implementing social outcomes. A mechanism is a game whose rules are designed by a social planner for the purpose of implementing a certain desirable social outcome (e.g., efficiency or fairness). Such mechanisms are always designed under the assumption that the parties involved will play an equilibrium outcome. Strategy Proof mechanisms received special attention in the literature, because they implement an outcome that is not only an equilibrium, but also one with dominant strategies, i.e., no player can do anything better than playing the strategy that leads to the socially desirable outcome, no matter what other people are doing. Yet as experimental and empirical results have shown, in real life, strategy proof mechanisms don’t always guarantee that players will do what they are expected to do. This is mainly because the reasoning behind the “right thing to do” is often complicated even in cases that admit a dominant-strategy equilibrium (one prominent mechanism of this sort is the second-price auction). Li’s paper proposes a concept of “obvious mechanisms.” This mechanism not only admits a dominant-strategy equilibrium, but also guarantees that it is cognitively simple to confirm that playing anything else is irrational. Li’s approach allows us to make mechanism design theory more applicable, and closer to reality. It warns us against choosing social mechanisms that we as game theorists hold to be secure, but when applied in the real-world will prove to be too complicated for people to do the right thing.
The winning paper was selected by the panel of Rosemarie Nagel (Pompeu Fabra University), Michel Regenwetter (University of Illinois) and Eyal Winter (Hebrew University of Jerusalem)
Shengwu will be visiting the University of Exeter to receive the award and give a public lecture.
This year was again exceptionally competitive with a large number of excellent nominations. In addition to the winner, this year’s shortlist was:
Chew, Soo Hong, Bin Miao, and Songfa Zhong. "Partial ambiguity." Econometrica 85.4 (2017): 1239-1260.
Glover, Dylan, Amanda Pallais, and William Pariente. "Discrimination as a self-fulfilling prophecy: Evidence from French grocery stores." The Quarterly Journal of Economics 132.3 (2017): 1219-1260.

Kessler, Judd B. "Announcements of support and public good provision." American Economic Review 107.12 (2017): 3760-87.

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Universal enrollment--embracing both district and charter schools--was once on the agenda in NYC

One cause of congestion in school choice systems is that if some students receive multiple offers of admissions, other students must wait for admission to a school they want, particularly if the system is so decentralized that a student is only discovered to have rejected an admissions offer after he or she doesn't show up for the first week of class. So a lot of the school choice work that Atila Abdulkadiroglu, Parag Pathak, Neil Dorosin and I have done through IIPSC is aimed at 'universal' enrollment systems, in which all schools take part.

This hasn't happened yet in NYC. So it is interesting that a lawsuit has brought to light emails which suggest that universal enrollment was as one point seriously considered by the city.

Chalkbeat has the story:

Mayor de Blasio almost proposed a universal enrollment system for district and charter schools, emails show  BY ALEX ZIMMERMAN

"Common — sometimes known as “universal” — enrollment systems exist in cities from Newark to Indianapolis. Backers of the approach argue it can simplify the often complex and time-intensive process required to apply to either district or charter schools in cities that allow parents to choose among both. Streamlining the process can put parents on equal footing instead of allowing those with more time, knowledge or resources from automatically getting a leg up
"Common enrollment systems have gained traction in recent years as some cities have embraced a “portfolio model” of schools, a new way of organizing school districts that has developed strong backing. This enrollment approach is central in New Orleans and Denver, which received input from Neil Dorosin, who created and once ran New York City’s high-school application system."

Saturday, October 6, 2018

Free versus predatory prices

Here's a new paper exploring the anti-competitive effects of giving things away for free:

An Introduction to the Competition Law and Economics of 'Free'

Forthcoming, Antitrust Chronicle, Competition Policy International
Many of the largest and most successful businesses today rely on providing service at no charge to at least a portion of their users. Free services often delight users, yet also create a series of challenges for competition policy, including impeding entry, inviting overproduction on quality, and increasing the risk of deception and overpayment. This short paper presents these problems, examines the strategies that entrants can attempt when competing with free service, and considers possible regulatory responses.

Friday, October 5, 2018

The broken refugee resettlement system

Yesterday I posted about progress being made in resettling refugees who have already been granted asylum in some host country.  A much harder political problem is matching refugees to countries that will grant them asylum. The NY Times has a story on those who have crossed the sea to Greece:

‘Better to Drown’: A Greek Refugee Camp’s Epidemic of Misery
By Patrick Kingsley

"The overcrowding is so extreme that asylum seekers spend as much as 12 hours a day waiting in line for food that is sometimes moldy. Last week, there were about 80 people for each shower, and around 70 per toilet, with aid workers complaining about raw sewage leaking into tents where children are living. Sexual assaults, knife attacks and suicide attempts are common.

"The conditions have fueled accusations that the camp has been left to fester in order to deter migration and that European Union funds provided to help Greece deal with asylum seekers are being misused. In late September, the European Union’s anti-fraud agency announced an investigation.
 "Outside Europe, the European Union has courted authoritarian governments in Turkey, Sudan and Egypt, while Italy has negotiated with warlords in Libya, in a successful effort to stem the flow of migrants toward the Mediterranean.

"Inside Europe itself, those who still make it to the Greek islands — about 23,000 have arrived this year, down from 850,000 in 2015 — must now stay at camps like Moria until their cases are settled. It can take as long as two years before the asylum seekers are either sent home or move on."

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Resettling refugees thoughtfully, by Trapp, Teytelboym, Martinello, Andersson, and Ahani

Here's a new paper, which emerges from a collaboration with my favorite refugee resettlement agency, the HIAS:

Placement Optimization in Refugee Resettlement
Andrew C. Trapp, Alexander Teytelboym, Alessandro Martinello,
Tommy Andersson, Narges Ahani

"This paper integrates machine learning and integer optimization technologies into the software Annie Moore (Matching and Outcome Optimization for Refugee Empowerment), named after Annie Moore, the first immigrant on record at Ellis Island, circa 1892. Annie is, to the best of our knowledge, the first software designed for resettlement agencies pre-arrival staff to recommend data driven, optimized matches between refugees and local affiliates while respecting refugee capacities. Annie was developed in close collaboration with representatives from all levels of Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS), where a first version was deployed in May 2018. New features were regularly added until August 2018 when it was presented to the US State Department and all staff at HIAS."

HT:  Tommy Andersson on the What are some dissertation-worthy topics in market design? thread at EconSpark

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Matching patients to health care in China

When I travel in China, one topic that often comes up is that there should be a better way of matching patients to doctors in Chinese hospitals.  Here's a story in the NY Times about that:

China’s Health Care Crisis: Lines Before Dawn, Violence and ‘No Trust’ 
By Sui-Lee Wee

"Well before dawn, nearly a hundred people stood in line outside one of the capital’s top hospitals.

"They were hoping to get an appointment with a specialist, a chance for access to the best health care in the country. Scalpers hawked medical visits for a fee, ignoring repeated crackdowns by the government.
"The long lines, a standard feature of hospital visits in China, are a symptom of a health care system in crisis.
"China has one general practitioner for every 6,666 people, compared with the international standard of one for every 1,500 to 2,000 people, according to the World Health Organization.

Instead of going to a doctor’s office or a community clinic, people rush to the hospitals to see specialists, even for fevers and headaches. "

An electronic board at the entrance of Peking Union Hospital displays the number of doctors available and their specialty.CreditGilles Sabrié for The New York Times

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Is prostitution repugnant if the sex workers are robots?

The Guardian has the story:
Houston mayor pushes back against proposed 'robot brothel'
Sylvester Turner said the city is reviewing ordinances after Kinky S Dolls said it intends to open a ‘love dolls brothel’ there

"A Canadian company wants to open a so-called “robot brothel” in Houston, but is getting pushback from officials and community groups, with the mayor saying the city is reviewing its ordinances to determine if they address public safety and health concerns potentially associated with the business.

"Mayor Sylvester Turner says he’s not trying to be the “moral police” but that this is not the type of business he wants opening in the city.

"Kinky S Dolls says it’s opening a “love dolls brothel” in Houston. It opened a similar venue in Toronto in 2017.
"Elijah Rising, a Houston-based not-for-profit focused on ending sex trafficking, has started an online petition asking the business be kept out of the city. "

The expressed concern about sex trafficking reminds of cases in which people have been prosecuted (in England and Canada) for importing sex dolls that resemble children, under laws against child pornography that are intended to fight trafficking in children.

I'm further reminded of the Mencken quote defining Puritanism as the haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be having fun. (Apparently what he actually wrote is very slightly different from what I remembered.)  Perhaps this applies in some cases to the definition of repugnance also.

Monday, October 1, 2018

Research ideas for market designers--invitation to participate

Market design is the topic of a recent thread on the new EconSpark: AEA Economics Discussion Forum.    What are some dissertation-worthy topics in market design?

So far (scrolling down from the top) it has suggestions by me, Fuhito Kojima, Shengwu Li, Bobby Pakzad Hurson, Susan Athey, Mike Luca, John Horton, Tommy Andersson, Alexander Teytelboym, and Parag Pathak, some commenting more than once.

The topics range from ideas about theoretical models, to ideas about how to approach internet marketplace companies for data, and how to empirically evaluate market design innovations.

You don't have to be a veteran designer to contribute to this thread:)

Check it out, point out markets you think might be usefully redesigned or begun, and suggest some tentative or speculative ideas of your own, and maybe get some helpful comments on them...

Sunday, September 30, 2018

A black market in publishing fake science

ABC (the Australian one) has the story:
Inside the 'shadowy world' of China's fake science research black market

"When the cancer research journal Tumor Biology retracted 107 papers last year, a dubious new world record was set — and the world's scientists took notice.
"But it wasn't a first for the journal, now published by Sage. In 2016, it retracted 25 papers because of similar doubts over their integrity.
The incidents expose a deeper, darker problem for science globally.
A growing black market is peddling fake research papers, fake peer reviews, and even entirely fake research results to anyone who will pay.
"Organised crime in certain countries has realised there is a lot of money to be made here," medically-trained Dr Oransky said.
"The pressure on Chinese scientists to publish their work in prestigious, English-language journals is now immense.
This has created new opportunities for China's thriving black market.
Companies offering standard editing and translation services to scientists have, in some cases, become a source of serious fraud.

"People can ask them to produce a paper of a certain kind, and they will produce the figures, the data, everything, and give it to you.
"You see this kind of very large-scale fraud going on in China."
Professor Cong Cao, a leading scholar in innovation studies at the University of Nottingham Ningbo China, said the market for these kind of services is large.
"In China, for a scientist to be promoted, they have to have a certain number of papers," he said.
Chinese graduate students and medical clinicians now also face the same strict requirements.
Some universities also pay huge cash rewards — over $US40,000 — if a scientist succeeds in publishing in a high-profile journal like Science or Nature.
Many see these financial incentives as part of the problem, especially in a country where average academic salaries are very low.
"The incentives are all misaligned," Dr Oransky said.
Professor Cao said the aim was to encourage scientists to be innovative.
"[But] there are some unintended consequences of this kind of policy," he said.
"More than 600 papers have been retracted since 2012 for fake peer review, according to Dr Oransky.
"Scientific misconduct is a growing global concern, and there is a risk of singling out China as the only hotspot.
But the Chinese Government knows it has a serious problem.
"China's Ministry of Science and Technology will now manage investigations into scientific misconduct. This is a departure from other countries where individual institutions are often in charge, despite implicit conflicts of interest."

Saturday, September 29, 2018

In Italy, a proposal to tax brides whose dresses are too skimpy

Nico Lacetera, who has a fine eye for repugnant transactions, points me to a proposal involving repugnance from several points of view:

Venezia, una tassa sulla scollatura della sposa
G-translate: Venice, a fee on the neckline of the bride

"The initiative comes from the parish priest don Cristiano Bobbo, from the community of Oriago and Cà Sabbioni, near Mestre. "We could create a sort of offer to be redeemed in proportion to the decency of the bride's dress, which very often presents itself vulgar and vulgar. So those who are more undressed pay more ", wrote the parish priest in his column on the newsletter" La voce della riviera "

Friday, September 28, 2018

Bride price in rural China

The Washington Post has a story about efforts to cap rising bride prices in one Chinese rural town:

The ‘bride price’ in China keeps rising. Some villages want to put a cap on it.

"The new rule was taped onto doorways around town: Officials were limiting what a groom-to-be could pay for a bride.

"The going rate was about $38,000, or five times the average annual salary in this village about four hours outside of Beijing. Now, families were told to keep it below $2,900.

"Anything more and they would risk being accused of human trafficking.

"The “bride price” — cash, and possibly a house or other goodies to the bride-to-be’s parents — has been part of the marriage pact in most of China for centuries. The costs, though, are swelling as China copes with one of the biggest demographic imbalances in history."

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Postdocs in market design at Melbourne

Alex Nichifor directs my attention to this ad in the JOE:

The University of Melbourne

Faculty of Business and Economics
Centre for Market Design
Post-Doctoral Research Fellow(s)

JOE ID Number: 2018-02_111460587
Date Posted: 09/11/2018
Position Title/Short Description
Title: Post-Doctoral Research Fellow(s)
Section: International: Other Academic (Visiting or Temporary)
Location: Melbourne, Victoria, AUSTRALIA
JEL Classification: D -- Microeconomics
market design
microeconomic theory
Salary Range: AUD$98,775 – AUD$117,290 p.a plus superannuation
Full Text of JOE Listing:
The Centre for Market Design ( of the Department of Economics at the University of Melbourne seeks to appoint one or more Post-Doctoral Fellows with interests in market design, mechanism design, industrial organization and/or applied microeconomics. The objectives of the Centre are to: (i) undertake research in market design and its associated academic disciplines; (ii) support an innovative microeconomic policy agenda with the aim of solving significant social and economic problems through the design of policy mechanisms; (iii) build capability in theory and empirics pertaining to market design. Working collaboratively with a team of leading academics, researchers, and doctoral students, Post-Doctoral Fellows will conduct research in support of the agenda of the Centre along with developing their own research careers. Applications are sought from individuals with a variety of backgrounds and interests in market design and microeconomics, as the activities of the Centre span applied policy problems, field and lab experiments, data collection, econometric modelling, and data analysis, along with microeconomic theory. Salary and research support will be competitive and the starting date is negotiable.

To ensure full consideration, applications must be received by December 15, 2018.

Additional information is available from:

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Repugnance in Malaysia: sex and punishment

Malaysia is a complicated place: here's a story from the Guardian, of judicial caning in Malaysia, and objections to it, partly because the caning was semi-public.

Women caned in Malaysia for attempting to have lesbian sex
Rare punishment was carried out in a courtroom and witnessed by up to 100 people

"Two women found guilty of attempting to have sex have been caned in Malaysia’s conservative north-eastern state of Terengganu, in the first punishment of its kind.

"The two women, aged 22 and 32, were caned six times each in the Terengganu sharia high court just after 10am, after the sentence was read out.

"The caning was carried out in the courtroom and was witnessed by up to 100 people, including the public.

"While women in Malaysia have been caned for sexual offences in the past, such as adultery, rights activists say this is the first time two women have been caned for attempting to have sex.

“The punishment was shocking and it was a spectacle,” Thilaga Sulathireh, an activist from the Malaysian rights group Justice for Sisters who was in court on Monday told the Guardian, “For all intents and purposes it was a public caning.”

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

NSF is looking for a new Division Director, Social and Economic Sciences, SBE

This is an important job in government science:

Division Director, Social and Economic Sciences, SBE

Serves as a member of the SBE Directorate leadership team and as a principal spokesperson in social and economic sciences for the Foundation.  Provides leadership and direction to the NSF Division responsible for funding research and education activities, both nationally and internationally, to develop and advance scientific knowledge and methods focusing on our understanding of individuals, social and organizational behavior by creating and sustaining social science infrastructure, and by supporting disciplinary and interdisciplinary research that advances knowledge in the social and economic sciences.  The incumbent has managerial and oversight responsibilities for the effective use of division staff and resources in meeting organizational goals and objectives (e.g., broadening participation).  Assesses needs and trends involving the social and economic sciences, implements overall strategic planning and policy setting for the Division, provides leadership and guidance to Division staff members, determines funding requirements, prepares and justifies budget estimates, balances program needs, allocates resources, oversees the evaluation of proposals and recommendations for awards and declinations, and represents NSF to relevant external groups.  Supervises and provides leadership and guidance to senior staff (Deputy Division Director), program officers, administrative and support personnel.  Fosters partnerships with other Divisions, Directorates, Federal agencies, scientific organizations, and the academic community.

I'm a big fan of the NSF and the work it does, and very recently traveled to Washington D.C. to say thank you:

"And thank you to the NSF, and particularly to the Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences Directorate, which must be one of the most cost-effective investments the government makes.  Social science isn’t very expensive, but it can be incredibly valuable. It can save lives.

"On a personal note, all of my work that was cited by the Nobel Prize committee was begun with funding from the NSF. Dan Newlon was the legendary director of the SBE Directorate, and he nurtured a generation of economists who made big changes in how economics is done. In the early 1990’s, when I was discouraged by the progress I was making on understanding matching, he encouraged me to stay the course. So for me, the NSF support was about much more than funding."
Here's the set of my blog posts that mention the NSF

Monday, September 24, 2018

Are there too many interviews for medical residencies and fellowships? Should there be an interview Match?

A recent article in JAMA considers the question in the title of this post:

September 21, 2018
Matching for Fellowship Interviews
Marc L. Melcher, MD, PhD; Itai Ashlagi, PhD; Irene Wapnir, MD

"Most surgical training programs interview many candidates because the consequences of not matching harms the reputation of the program and affects the work force of their services.5 Surveys of pediatric surgery program directors in 2011, 2012, and 2014 revealed that they interviewed a median of 24 to 30 candidates per year. However, the median rank at which the programs matched was less than 4, and programs never matched beyond their 12th choice, suggesting that they did not need to interview as many residents as they did.
"instituting an interview match may be one approach to help improve the interview selection process by reducing the large numbers of unfruitful and costly fellowship interviews. For example, Ashlagi et al7 found in a theoretical matching model that when candidates and programs each have highly heterogeneous preferences, limiting the number of interviews improved the efficiency of the matching process. Thus, fellowship interview matches represent an opportunity to reduce the excessive number of interviews and optimize the selection of applicants.

"A practical strategy that may achieve this goal is an interview match that precedes the existing match. After applications are submitted, candidates and programs submit rank lists that could be used to fill limited interview slots. Mechanisms that enable applicants and training programs to signal interest in each other have been proposed.4,7 By ranking candidates and programs highly, both essentially are respectively signaling their strong preference for each other.4 Therefore, fewer interviews might be sufficient for candidates and programs to identify mutually desirable matches and reduce the number and costs of interviews. If the program and candidate interview slots remain unfilled, a secondary match could be performed to fill unmatched interview slots.
"n conclusion, a well-designed interview match may help reduce excessive costly interviews while more efficiently pairing candidates and programs, so that both achieve as many highly ranked choices as possible. This strategy could be applied broadly to matching programs in other medical specialties and may be attractive at earlier career stages such as residency interviews."

And here's a related news story on the Stanford Medical School site:

The current fellowship interview process is cumbersome — Stanford researchers have a better idea

"In their fourth and fifth years, surgical residents are busy: They're caring for patients, assisting junior trainees and fulfilling their own training requirements. And that's not all: About 75 percent of these residents are scrambling to squeeze in interviews for fellowships across the country, often packing in between 6 and 15 interviews to ensure they secure a spot, Stanford transplant surgeon Marc Melcher, MD, PhD, told me.

"Fellowship program directors, including Stanford surgeon Irene Wapnir, MD, who directs the breast surgical fellowship, are similarly harried. To fill typically one position, the directors can interview 20 or more doctors to find a quality candidate whose interests match their program.
"The process is also expensive and time-consuming. When experienced residents leave, their coworkers need to cover for them, and the residents must pay their own way to travel to interviews, Melcher said.
"Melcher and Wapnir reached out to their Stanford Engineering colleague Itai Ashlagi, PhD, who specializes in the design and analysis of marketplaces, such as matching kidney donors with recipients.  Together with Alvin Roth, PhD, a Stanford economist, they're proposing a new fellowship interview matching system. Their concept appears in JAMA.
"The researchers propose two key changes. First, applicants and programs would signal their preferences for each other — before making travel arrangements and setting aside days of valuable physician time. In addition, the number of interviews for each fellowship program would be capped, as would the number of interviews for each candidate, Melcher said."

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Prostitution, brothels and police corruption in NYC

The NY Times has the story:
Brothels, Gambling and an Ex-Detective Mastermind: Officials Detail N.Y. Police Scandal

"It was a sweeping and complex criminal enterprise: brothels in Brooklyn, where 15-minute sexual encounters added up to more than $2 million in profits in a 13-month period, and nail salons in Queens, where managers, runners and agents placed bets in an old-school numbers racket.
And the mastermind was a retired New York City police detective who recruited at least seven police officers acting as foot soldiers, according to court documents charging the group on Thursday."
Here's an example of the strategic cat and mouse game that used the inside information of the "ex-detective mastermind":

"He knew that undercover officers investigating prostitution are not allowed to expose their genitals during their interactions with suspects, and so he made a rule to check new customers of the brothels: He insisted that the men “undress and allow themselves to be fondled to pass the brothel’s security screening,” the Queens district attorney’s office, which is prosecuting the officers and dozens of civilians, said."

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Surrogacy laws in Europe (mostly banned) and some countries where it is allowed

EuroNews has the story (and a map):

Where in Europe is surrogacy legal?

Families Through Surrogacy provides some information about countries around the world that allow surrogacy

The table below lists issues related to surrogacy in various countries which allow it.
AUSTRALIAAltruistic surrogacy only available. No donor or surrogate matching available. Advertising for surrogates not legal. All donors must be identified
Ethics committee approval often required. Foreigners cannot access surrogacy in Australia
User groups such as can provide
CANADAAltruistic surrogacy only available. Foreigners can access surrogacyvia seperate Egg donor providers
GREECEHeterosexual couples and single females eligible. Foreign nationals allowed to engage. Surrogate cannot be compensated beyond out-of-pocket expensesDonors, if required, must be anonymous. Eggs/embryos/sperm are able to be shipped directly from your registered clinic.
GEORGIACompensated surrogacy available  to heterosexual couples, including foreigners. Legal protections in place
INDIAOnly available for Indian residentsIn-country donors are anonymous however donor photos may be available other details provided: age, height, weight, previous donation history, children, blood group, education level/ occupation
ISRAELAltruistic surrogacy available only to heterosexual Israeli residents
KENYACompensated surrogacy available to locals and foreigners. No legal protection
LAOS Compensated Surrogacy available  to foreigners. Gestation & birth occurs in Thailand. No legal protection
MEXICO Tabasco state closed to surrogacy. Other states have no legal protections. Embryo transfer occurs in Cancun or Mexico City oftenCaucasian and Latin Sperm and Egg Donors available. Possible to bring your own surrogate and /or known donor. No waiting list
NIGERIAAltruistic and commercial surrogacy available to Nigerian heterosexual residentsEgg donors available
SOUTH AFRICAAltruistic surrogacy available to heterosexual South African residents
THAILANDOnly available altruistically to Thai residents
UKAltruistic surrogacy only available. Advertising for surrogates not legal foreigners cannot access surrogacy in UK
UKRAINEOnly heterosexual married couplesCaucasian, offer photos with family history, occupation/ area of study, previous donor history and physical details.
USAGay and heterosexual foreigners can access surrogacy here see surrogacy laws by US stateVery wide range available from donor agencies or privately

Expenses: $10,000
Legals & counselling: $22,000
Donor screening offered only if through an egg bank<5 td="" years="">Transfer of legal parentage available 4-6 months post birth if uncompensated surrogacy used domestically.
Surrogacy: $26,000 +
Local egg donor
add $5,000 +
according to age, genetics and lifestyle, mental and physical health 10 yearsIntended Parents named on birth certificate to meet the criteria of countries such as the UK, single surrogates are available and DNA testing is available
CANADA$90,000>15 years Transfer of parentage. Canadian passport available
KENYA$50,000<3 td="" years=""> No legal protection
UKSurrogacy UK, COTS>15 yearsTransfer of legal parentage available
USAIVF costs: $25,000
Surrogacy: $68,000
Other costs: $20,000
Varies by agency30 yearsParents names on the BC as mother and father
Surrogacy: $26,000 +
Local egg donor
add $5,000 +
according to age, genetics and lifestyle, mental and physical health~5 yearsIntended Parents named on birth certificate to meet the criteria of countries such as the UK, single surrogates are available and DNA testing is available. No eligibility for Ukraine citizenship
GREECEIVF: $20,100
Surrogacy: $44,000
Legals: $10,000+
Local egg donor: $1,360
10+ yearsRecently opened up to foreigners
Parents names on the BC as mother and father. Court case prior to IVF ensures transfer of parentage occurs before embryo transfer
MEXICO$80,000 (incl US egg donor)unknown<1 td="" year="">