Wednesday, October 31, 2018

EconTrack: The AEA's Job Market Information Board

The AEA has launched a job market information board, which will collect information about the progress of interviews and flyouts for (I imagine) jobs that advertise in the JOE.

Here it is:  EconTrack: The AEA's Job Market Information Board, and the headings for the information they hope to track as the job market develops are these:

Institution, Job Title, Fields, Application Deadline, Interviewing at ASSA?, Interview Invitations Issued, Campus Visits Issued, List of Campus Invitees...

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

The (hot) job market for "Digitization Economists"

HBS interviews Mike Luca on the market for new economists (and his recent paper with Susan Athey):
Hunting for a Hot Job in High Tech? Try 'Digitization Economist'

"Some 50 tech companies “have been snapping up economists at a remarkable scale,” says Michael Luca, the Lee J. Styslinger III Associate Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School. “All of the big Bay Area tech companies have teams of economists, and lots of the smaller companies are starting to hire handfuls of them.” The list includes Google, Microsoft, Airbnb, Uber, Facebook, and numerous smaller companies.

"Tech companies are turning to sharp economic minds to provide their unique lens on business problems like advertising auctions and market design. The accelerating phenomenon has given rise to a new field within economics called the economics of digitization. Research from the field is quickly finding its way into practice, directly through the work of PhD economists, and in the classroom, as HBS and other business schools add more tech-germane courses to their MBA offerings."

Monday, October 29, 2018

Market design and development economics at Harvard

There's a two day conference at Harvard, called
Development Economics and Market Design 

Organizers: Scott Kominers, Natalia Rigol, Ben Roth, Alexander Teytelboym

OCTOBER 28, 2018
9:00 to 9:15  Opening Remarks
9:15 to 10:15  Ride Sharing
Abhijit Banerjee MIT
Elizabeth Mishkin Harvard University
10:15 to 10:30  Break
10:30 to 11:30  Credit/Targeting
Dilip Mookherjee Boston University
Sujata Visaria Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
11:30 to 11:45  Break
11:45 to 12:45 Fisheries
Jonathan Colmer University of Virginia
Daniel Marszalec University of Tokyo
12:45 to 1:45 Lunch
1:45 to 2:45 Localized Markets/Information
Terence Johnson University of Notre Dame
Vivek Bhattacharya Northwestern University
2:45 to 3:00 Break
3:00 to 4:00 Mobile Money
Tavneet Suri MIT
Ran Shorrer Penn State University
4:00 to 4:15 Break
4:15 to 5:15 Development Medicine
Michael Kremer Harvard University
Christopher Snyder Dartmouth College
Scott Kominers Harvard Business School
5:15 to 5:30 Open Discussion & Day 1 Closing Remarks

OCTOBER 29, 2018
9:00 to 10:00 Deforestation
Seema Jayachandran Northwestern University
Alexander Teytelboym Department of Economics, University of Oxford
10:00 to 10:15 Break
10:15 to 11:15 Advice to Farmers
Shawn Cole Harvard University
Shengwu Li Harvard University
11:15 to 11:30 Break
11:30 to 12:30 Labor Markets
Simon Quinn University of Oxford
Eva Meyersson Milgrom Stanford University
12:30 to 1:30 Lunch
1:30 to 2:30 Coffee Commodity Markets
Ashok Rai Williams College
2:30 to 3:00
Discussion & Closing Remarks

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Repugnance watch: Blasphemy no longer unconstitutional in Ireland, as of yesterday

Here's the story in The Guardian:
Ireland votes to oust ‘medieval’ blasphemy law
Decision is latest in ‘quiet revolution’ of seismic social and political changes in the country

"Campaigners in Ireland celebrated the end of a “medieval” ban on blasphemy on Saturday, after voters overwhelmingly supported a referendum to remove the offence from the constitution.

"Almost 65% of voters supported the move – a total of 951,650 people – with just over 35% (515,808) in favour of retaining it, on a turnout of just over 43%.
"The government had already laid out legislation to remove the offence of blasphemy from the constitution and all relevant laws, should the referendum be passed.

"It has been more than 150 years since anyone was prosecuted for blasphemy in Ireland, but the country had passed a blasphemy law in 2009, making it the only western democracy to bring in new legislation in the 21st century."

Saturday, October 27, 2018

University of Virginia celebrates Charlie Holt

Thomas Jefferson would be proud:

"During the ceremony in the John Paul Jones Arena, held in conjunction with Family Weekend, UVA President Jim Ryan presented two Thomas Jefferson Awards – one for excellence in scholarship, to Charles A. Holt, A. Willis Robertson Professor of Political Economy in the Department of Economics and professor of public policy in the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy; and one for service to Richard M. Carpenter, patient care services manager at the UVA Medical Center. The awards are the highest given by UVA to a member of the University community."

Incentives can save lives (Washington Post op-ed with Congressman Cartwright)

The Washington Post published this week an opinion piece I coauthored with Congressman Matt Cartwright of Pennsylvania, in support of the new legislation he has proposed, H.R.6448 - Organ Donation Clarification Act of 2018.

Our piece ran under the headline
Student loan forgiveness and other incentives could save lives. Here’s how.
By Matt Cartwright and Al Roth
October 25
Matt Cartwright, a Democrat, represents Pennsylvania’s 17th District in the House. Al Roth, a professor at Stanford University, won the 2012 Nobel Prize in economics.

Here's the text as in ran in the paper:

"Every day 20 Americans will die waiting for an organ transplant, 13 of them waiting for a kidney. Hundreds of thousands will undergo painful and debilitating dialysis treatments to extend their lives in the hope that a kidney will eventually become available.
We are quickly marching in the wrong direction. As of mid-October,95,000 people remain on the kidney waiting list. Each year, approximately 17,000 patients are lucky enough to receive a transplant; however, 35,000 new patients are added annually to the national waitlist.
The average wait time for a new kidney is approaching five years , unless you have a family member or friend who can serve as your donor. During this time, your activity will be limited due to your fragile condition, and your schedule will be dictated by four-hour dialysis sessions several times a week. Because of this, 77 percent of dialysis patients are unemployed and reliant on social services.
The pain, suffering and death are overwhelming. And so is the cost: roughly 7 percent of the Medicare budget. Dialysis, on its own, costs Medicare more than $87,000 per patient per year. A kidney transplant, on the other hand, pays for itself in less than two years and saves an average of more than $745,000 in medical costs over a 10-year period, with 75 percent of those savings going to the taxpayers. If the supply of transplant kidneys could be increased to meet the demand, taxpayers would save more than $12 billion per year in medical costs.
Solving the organ and kidney waiting list issue is a true win-win: changing the lives of those suffering from kidney failure while relieving a significant burden on the American taxpayer.
Innovations in science and health-care management have undoubtedly increased donations. Last decade, groundbreaking registries and matching programs were created to allow incompatible patient-donor pairs to join a pool of other patients and donors so that each patient received a compatible kidney. The kidney-exchange model has saved thousands of lives and helped earn one of the co-authors of this article a Nobel Prize in economics.
The kidney wait list is now one and a half times the size it was in 2004, when the New England Program for Kidney Exchange began. This is partly because medical progress extending the lives of those on dialysis has failed to address the fundamental issue of organ failure. Meanwhile, innovation in our approach to transplantation has not kept pace with dramatic increases in the demand for kidneys. We are clearly in need of a new approach. Effective legislation can help solve the problem.
The Organ Donation Clarification Act, introduced by the other co-author of this article, proposes a new and innovative path toward increasing both deceased and living organ donation. The bill clarifies the definition of a “valuable consideration” — cash payments for donation, which are currently prohibited for organ donors — to eliminate misunderstandings and delays in reimbursement for valid donation-related expenses, which have hampered living organ donation. This bill also allows government-run, ethics-board-approved pilot programs to test the effectiveness of providing noncash incentives to promote organ donation.
What might such pilot programs look like? Perhaps a living donor might receive health insurance, forgiveness of student loans, a donation to a charity of choice, a contribution to retirement savings. The family of a deceased donor might get funeral benefits.
We do not know exactly what the effects of incentives would be on organ donation, which is exactly why these pilot programs are necessary. Would they help? What incentives would be most effective? What are the unforeseen circumstances? Let’s allow the scientific community to experiment, test creative solutions and see what might solve this crisis.
Public opinion firmly supports compensating organ donors. The pilot programs under the bill would ensure the noncash incentives would not come from the organ recipient and that organs would be distributed fairly, in the same manner they are now. With those parameters, more than 80 percent of people in a recent national academic study of nearly 3,000 voiced their support for a successful program of compensating organ donors.
There are many factors to consider when tackling the issue of organ donation. We must preserve dignity, avoid exploitation and be careful about incentives. We must ensure that the poor and desperate are not treated unfairly.
We can do this right, and these pilot programs will help us get answers to fix the organ shortage that costs us 20 American lives every day. We can save lives, end suffering and save billions in the process. The time to act is now."

The bill is is designed to make healthcare more accessable. And it is pro-science as a way for finding out how to do this.  It is likely that it will meet with some opposition ... but it's good to know that we have representatives like Mr. Cartwright who keep trying.

Friday, October 26, 2018

Computational advances for hard matching problems

Computational complexity theory focuses on worst case examples to identify hard problems, but the good news is that the instances that arise in practice of the (potentially) hard problems identified in this way can often be solved pretty efficiently. Here are some new techniques for doing that, from Scottish researchers:

Mathematical models for stable matching problems with ties and incomplete lists
by Maxence Delorme, Sergio Garcia, Jacek Gondzio, Joerg Kalcsics, David Manlove, and William Pettersson

Abstract: We present new integer linear programming (ILP) models for N P-hard optimisation problems in instances of the Stable Marriage problem with Ties and Incomplete lists (SMTI) and its many-to-one generalisation, the Hospitals / Residents problem with Ties (HRT). These models can be used to efficiently solve these optimisation problems when applied to (i) instances derived from real-world applications, and (ii) larger instances that are randomly generated. In the case of SMTI, we consider instances arising from the pairing of children with adoptive families, where preferences are obtained from a quality measure of each possible pairing of child to family. In this case we seek a maximum weight stable matching. We present new algorithms for preprocessing instances of SMTI with ties on both sides, as well as new ILP models. Algorithms based on existing state-of-the-art models only solve 6 of our 22 real-world instances within an hour per instance, and our new models solve all 22 instances within a mean runtime of 60 seconds. For HRT, we consider instances derived from the problem of assigning junior doctors to foundation posts in Scottish hospitals. Here we seek a maximum size stable matching. We show how to extend our models for SMTI to the HRT case. For the real instances, we reduce the mean runtime from an average of 144 seconds when using state-of-the-art methods, to 3 seconds when using our new ILP based algorithms. We also show that our models outperform considerably state-of-the-art models on larger randomly-generated instances of SMTI and HRT

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Building kidney exchange in Europe

Here's a report, in the journal Transplantation (the full paper is available at the link):

Building Kidney Exchange Programmes in Europe – An Overview of Exchange Practice and Activities
Biró, Péter1; Haase-Kromwijk, Bernadette2; Andersson, Tommy3; Ásgeirsson, Eyjólfur Ingi4; Baltesová, Tatiana5; Boletis, Ioannis6; Bolotinha, Catarina7; Bond, Gregor8; Böhmig, Georg8; Burnapp, Lisa9; Cechlárová, Katarína10; Di Ciaccio, Paola11; Fronek, Jiri12; Hadaya, Karine13; Hemke, Aline2; Jacquelinet, Christian14; Johnson, Rachel9; Kieszek, Rafal15; Kuypers, Dirk16; Leishman, Ruthanne17; Macher, Marie-Alice14; Manlove, David18; Menoudakou, Georgia19; Salonen, Mikko20; Smeulders, Bart21; Sparacino, Vito11; Spieksma, Frits16; de la Oliva Valentín Muñoz, María22; Wilson, Nic23; vd Klundert, Joris24 on behalf of the ENCKEP COST Action

Transplantation: September 21, 2018 - Volume Online First

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Game Theory and Applications in Lisbon, October 25-27, 2018

The Lisbon Meetings in Game Theory and Applications #10. The Anniversary Edition​. October 25-27, 2018

The program is here.

I'll be speaking at noon on Friday, with a working title of
Game theory in a large world:  Market design, and the example of kidney exchange

The announcement says:
"The UECE Lisbon Meetings in Game Theory and Applications are an annual event that brings together leading scholars doing theoretical or applied research in the field of game theory.

The first edition of the conference took place in 2009 and throughout the years it has become a reference event in the field, attracting renowned academics from all over the world.

In the tenth edition of the Lisbon Meetings, we are pleased to announce four keynote lectures  by

Prof. Itzhak Gilboa (HEC, Paris-Saclay, and Tel-Aviv University)
Prof. Itay Goldstein (University of Pennsylvania)
Prof. Alvin E. Roth (Stanford University)
Prof. Larry Samuelson (Yale University)

Prof. Gilboa will present the annual lecture in honor of the preeminent game theorist Jean-François Mertens

The organizing Committee

Filomena Garcia (Indiana University, ISEG/UECE)
Luca David Opromolla (Banco de Portugal, UECE)
Joana Pais (ISEG, UECE)
Joana Resende (CE-FUP, University of Porto)"

I also plan to give a short talk at a ceremony this evening,  about markets and market design along the lines of my book Who Gets What and Why (which was translated into Portugese as Como Funcionam Os Mercados }.

Here's a news story:
Teoria dos Jogos revoluciona ciência, economia e vida em sociedade
Prémio Nobel Alvin E. Roth cruza Teoria dos Jogos e transplante de rins

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Ethics and Welfare Conference at Penn, Oct 26-7

This conference will be the third in a series. The first was funded by the Becker-Friedman Institute at the University of Chicago in 2014, and the second was at the Harvard Business School.  Videos and papers from the previous conferences can be found at and

"This conference is divided into seven main sessions, each devoted to a different normative question. In each session, both economic and philosophical perspectives will be presented, and ample time will be provided for audience discussion. The conference will close with a distinguished panel of economists and philosophers, who will discuss the themes raised by the conference."

Here's the program:

Friday, October 26, 2018
8:15-8:45      Breakfast

8:45-9:00      Opening Remarks

Benjamin Lockwood, University of Pennsylvania
Itai Sher, University of Massachusetts Amherst
9:00-10:30      Session 1: Ethics and Economics of Climate Change

Dale Jamieson, New York University
Christian Traeger, University of Oslo
Discussant: Arthur Van Benthem, University of Pennsylvania
10:30-11:00      Break

11:00-12:30      Session 2: Normative Uncertainty and Normative Diversity

Stefan Riedener, University of Zurich (Paper)
Itai Sher, University of Massachusetts Amherst (Paper)
Discussant: Christian Tarsney, University of Groningen
12:30-2:00      Lunch

2:00-3:30      Session 3: Preferences for Redistribution and Moral Psychology

Raymond Fisman, Boston University (Paper)
Fiery Cushman, Harvard University (Paper)
Discussant: Geoffrey Goodwin, University of Pennsylvania
3:30-4:00      Break

4:00-5:30      Session 4: Poverty, Inequality, and Health

Martin Ravallion, Georgetown University (Paper)
Jennifer Prah Ruger, University of Pennsylvania (Paper)
Discussant: Mark Pauly, University of Pennsylvania
5:30-6:30      Break

6:30-9:00      Conference Dinner (for speakers and discussants)

Saturday, October 27, 2018.
8:30-9:00      Breakfast

9:00-10:30      Session 5: Behavioral Welfare Economics and Paternalism

Benjamin Lockwood, University of Pennsylvania (Paper)
Erik Angner, Stockholm University
Discussant: Douglas Mackay, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
10:30-11:00      Break

11:00-12:30      Session 6: Algorithms, Data and the Public Good

Rakesh Vohra, University of Pennsylvania (Paper)
Helen Nissenbaum, Cornell University
Discussant: Daniel Singer, University of Pennsylvania
12:30-1:30      Lunch

1:30-3:00      Session 7: Happiness and Social Welfare

Kristen Cooper, Gordon College
Dan Haybron, Saint Louis University (Paper)
Discussant: Alex Rees-Jones, University of Pennsylvania
3:00-3:30      Break

3:30-5:00      Closing Panel

Ruth Chang, Rutgers University
Joel Sobel, University of California, San Diego
John Broome, University of Oxford
Steven Sheffrin, Tulane University
Moderator: Amy Sepinwall, University of Pennsylvania

Monday, October 22, 2018

Axel Ockenfels on Economic Engineering: Public Lecture in NYC tomorrow, Oct 23

Axel Ockenfels will be speaking in New York City tomorrow...


"What do climate change, shortage of organ donors, and traffic congestion have in common? They can all be addressed with behavioral economics. Join us for a lecture by Leibniz Prize recipient Professor Axel Ockenfels.

"Many economic and societal challenges can only be addressed with a change in human behavior. Market design can offer solutions because market rules affect our behavior in predictable ways. Traffic jams, for example, cost time, money and impact our health, while recent advances in technology would allow for the design of new markets for road use that promote cooperation and prevent congestion. Climate change is fundamentally a problem of insufficient cooperation that can be addressed if recognized as such and acted on accordingly in international climate negotiations.

"In his lecture, Professor Ockenfels will show how market rules can be engineered to promote cooperation and trust even in large communities and to encourage competition in small markets. Professor Ockenfels’ focus will be on human behavior in markets, which responds to market rules, but rarely in a fully rational way. He will show how market design can take on real-world challenges."

October 23 2018 | 06:30 PM until 08:00 PM

German House, 871 United Nations Plaza, New York, NY 10017,
Organizer: German Center for Research and Innovation (DWIH NY)

Market design to reduce inequality

The closing talk at the NBER market design conference was delivered by Scott Kominers, on the general theme that we may not care for fully competitive markets (and might prefer some use of price controls and rationing) for markets involving e.g. sellers who are relatively poor compared to buyers, since competition can exacerbate wealth inequality:

Redistribution through Markets
Piotr Dworczak, Scott Duke Kominers, Mohammad Akbarpour

Abstract: When macroeconomic tools fail to respond to wealth inequality optimally, regulators can still seek to mitigate inequality within individual markets. A social planner with distributional preferences might distort allocative efficiency to achieve a more desirable split of surplus, for example, by setting higher prices when sellers are poor -- effectively, using the market as a redistributive tool.

In this paper, we seek to understand how to design goods markets optimally in the presence of inequality. Using a mechanism design approach, we uncover the constrained Pareto frontier by identifying the optimal trade-off between allocative efficiency and redistribution in a setting where the second welfare theorem fails because of private information and participation constraints. We find that competitive equilibrium allocation is not always optimal. Instead, when there is substantial inequality across sides of the market, the optimal design uses a tax-like mechanism, introducing a wedge between the buyer and seller prices, and redistributing the resulting surplus to the poorer side of the market via lump-sum payments. When there is significant within-side inequality, meanwhile, it may be optimal to impose price controls even though doing so induces rationing.

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Matching with complex constraints

At the NBER market design conference yesterday, Fuhito Kojima spoke about his paper with Yuchiro Kamada on matching with 'upper bound' constraints of the kind that occur in matching children to day care in Japan.

Here's the paper:


Abstract. This paper studies a general model of matching with constraints. Observing that a stable matching typically does not exist, we focus on feasible, individually rational, and fair matchings. We characterize such matchings by fixed points of a certain function. Building on this result, we characterize the class of constraints on individual schools under which there exists a student-optimal fair matching (SOFM), the matching that is the most preferred by every student among those satisfying the three desirable properties. We study the numerical relevance of our theory using data on governmentorganized
daycare allocation.

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Centralized Admissions for Engineering Colleges in India

Yesterday I had the opportunity to hear Yash Kanoria discuss the implementation and operation of a centralized college admissions system for engineering colleges in India.  It replaces a semi-centralized process that left some seats unfilled (when IIT and non-IIT seats were allocated to the same people).

There are some novel constraints that have to be satisfied, some of which can theoretically present intractable problems, but in practice they don't.

An appendix on history and background is a quick education in Indian education.

Below is a link to the paper, which seems to be a fine example of market design as economic engineering, which solved some important problems and has now operated successfully for several years. There are also problems (e.g. concerning vacancies in non-IITs) left to solve...:

Centralized Admissions for Engineering Colleges in India
by Surender Baswana, Partha Pratim Chakrabarti, Sharat Chandran, Yashodhan Kanoria, Utkarsh Patange

Abstract We designed and implemented a new joint seat allocation process for undergraduate admissions to over 500 programs spread across 80 technical universities in India, including the prestigious Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs). Our process is based on the well known Deferred Acceptance algorithm, but complex affirmative action seat reservations led us to make a number of algorithmic innovations, including (i) a carefully constructed heuristic for incorporating non-nested common quotas that span multiple programs, (ii) a method to utilize unfilled reserved seats with no modifications to the core software, and (iii) a robust approach to reduce variability in the number of reserved category candidates admitted, while retaining fairness. Our new seat allocation process went live in 2015, and based on its success, including significant and provable reduction in vacancies, it has remained in successful use since, with continuing improvements.

Friday, October 19, 2018

NBER Market Design Conference at Stanford, October 19-20

Here's the program and participant list:

Friday, October 19
8:30 am
Continental Breakfast
9:00 am
Olivier Terceiux, Top Trading Cycles in Prioritized Markets, a synthesis of:
Yeon-Koo Che, Columbia University
Olivier Tercieux, Paris School of Economics
Top Trading Cycles in Prioritized Matching: An Irrelevance of Priorities in Large Markets
Atila Abdulkadiroglu, Duke University and NBER
Yeon-Koo Che, Columbia University
Parag A. Pathak, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and NBER
Alvin E. Roth, Stanford University and NBER
Olivier Tercieux, Paris School of Economics
Minimizing Justified Envy in School Choice: The Design of New Orleans’ OneApp
9:45 am
Surender Baswana, IIT Kanpur
Partha Pratim Chakrabarti, IIT Kharagpur
Sharat Chandran, IIT Bombay
Yash Kanoria, Columbia University
Utkarsh Patange, Columbia University
Centralized Admissions for Engineering Colleges in India
10:30 am
11:00 am
Onur Kesten, Carnegie Mellon University
Selcuk Ozyurt, Sabanci University
Efficient and Incentive Compatible Mediation: An Ordinal Market Design Approach
11:45 am
Dirk Bergemann, Yale University
Benjamin A. Brooks, University of Chicago
Stephen Morris, Princeton University
Revenue Guarantee Equivalence
12:30 pm
Lunch Talk
Michael Schwarz, Microsoft
Market Design, Reputation Systems, UX, and the Cost of User Time
2:00 pm
Xiao Liu, Tsinghua University
Zhixi Wan, Didi Chuxing Technology Co.
Chenyu Yang, University of Rochester
The Efficiency of A Dynamic Decentralized Two-Sided Matching Market
2:45 pm
Hongyao Ma, Harvard University
Fei Fang, Carnegie Mellon University
David Parkes, Harvard University
Spatio-Temporal Pricing for Ridesharing Platforms
3:30 pm
4:00 pm
Mohammad Akbarpour, Stanford University
Farshad Fatemi, Sharif University of Technology
Negar Matoorian, Stanford University
A Monetary Market for Kidneys
4:45 pm
Alvin E. Roth, Stanford University and NBER
Recent Developments in Kidney Exchange: Market Design in a Large World
5:30 pm
6:30 pm
Joya Restaurant
339 University Avenue
Palo Alto, CA
Saturday, October 20
8:30 am
Continental Breakfast
9:00 am
Atila Abdulkadiroglu, Duke University and NBER
Joshua Angrist, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and NBER
Yusuke Narita, Yale University
Parag A. Pathak, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and NBER
Impact Evaluation in Matching Markets with General Tie-Breaking
9:45 am
Yuichiro Kamada, Harvard University
Fuhito Kojima, Stanford University
Fair Matching under Constraints: Theory and Applications (slides)
10:30 am
11:00 am
Tamas Fleiner, Budapest University of Technology and Economics
Ravi Jagadeesan, Harvard University
Zsuzsanna Jankó, Corvinus University
Alexander Teytelboym, University of Oxford
Trading Networks with Frictions
11:45 am
Piotr Dworczak, Northwestern University
Scott Duke Kominers, Harvard University
Mohammad Akbarpour, Stanford University
Redistribution through Markets
12:30 pm

Participant List
Atila Abdulkadiroglu Duke University and NBER
Nikhil Agarwal Massachusetts Institute of Technology and NBER
Mohammad Akbarpour Stanford University
Nick Arnosti Columbia University
Susan Athey Stanford University and NBER
Lawrence Ausubel University of Maryland
Moshe Babaioff Microsoft Research
Aaron L. Bodoh-Creed University of California at Berkeley
Eric Budish University of Chicago and NBER
Jeremy I. Bulow Stanford University and NBER
Gabriel Carroll Stanford University
Yeon-Koo Che Columbia University
Laura Doval California Institute of Technology
Jeremy T. Fox Rice University and NBER
Guillaume Haeringer Baruch College
Jonathan Hall Uber Technologies
John W. Hatfield University of Texas, Austin
Yinghua He Rice University
Ravi Jagadeesan Harvard University
Yuichiro Kamada Harvard University
Yash Kanoria Columbia University
Adam Kapor Princeton University and NBER
Jakub Kastl Princeton University and NBER
Onur Kesten Carnegie Mellon University
Fuhito Kojima Stanford University
Scott Duke Kominers Harvard University
Nicolas S. Lambert Stanford University
Shengwu Li Harvard University
Shuya Li Carnegie Mellon University
Hongyao Ma Harvard University
Mohammad Mahdian Google Research
Negar Matoorian Stanford University
Stephen Morris Princeton University
Yusuke Narita Yale University
Hamid Nazerzadeh University of Southern California
Afshin Nikzad Stanford University
Michael Ostrovsky Stanford University and NBER
Selcuk Ozyurt Sabanci University
Utkarsh Patange Columbia University
Parag A. Pathak Massachusetts Institute of Technology and NBER
Ali O. Polat Carnegie Mellon University
Daniel Quint University of Wisconsin
David H. Reiley Jr. Pandora Media, Inc
Alvin E. Roth Stanford University and NBER
Daniela Saban Stanford University
Michael Schwarz Microsoft
Ilya Segal Stanford University
Sven Seuken University of Zurich
Kane Sweeney eBay Research Labs
Steven Tadelis University of California at Berkeley and NBER
Olivier Tercieux Paris School of Economics
Zhixi Wan Didi Chuxing Technology Co.
Robert Wilson Stanford University
Xingye Wu Tsinghua University
Chenyu Yang University of Rochester
Haoxiang Zhu Massachusetts Institute of Technology and NBER

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Cannabis in Canada--legal since yesterday

Here's yesterday's headline in The Globe and Mail:
Green dawn: The first day of cannabis legalization in Canada, from coast to coast

"From St. John’s to Vancouver, from Southern Ontario to the Far North, Canada’s nearly century-old prohibition on recreational cannabis lifted on Wednesday – and in Ottawa, the federal government is expected to announce how those convicted of possession under the old laws will be able to apply for pardons.

"Not everyone who wants to smoke up on the first day will be able to: Relatively few bricks-and-mortar stores are open, and in Ontario, the most populous province, online retail is the only option until physical stores get the go-ahead next year. Retailers are warning of shortages in the first few weeks, and at the production end, suppliers face formidable obstacles to catch up with expected demand."

Here's the story in the WSJ:
Cannabis is now legal in Canada, but pot companies expect a rocky start

"After nearly a century of prohibition, Canada became only the second country in the world, and the only member of the G-7, to legalize the drug for recreational use. Marijuana is officially legal in Canada.
"With little history or precedent for Canada to follow, the early months of recreational cannabis sales face ambitious timelines set by the governing party, a different set of laws in each of the country’s 10 provinces, and potential supply shortages as Canada’s federally licensed producers expand production.
"There are also a shortage of retail locations. In the country’s most populous province, Ontario, there are no bricks-and-mortar stores open on Wednesday, and won’t be for months. After a new government took power in a recent election, Ontario opted to sell pot online via a government-run store and allow private companies to open up stores on the ground. In Quebec, the second most populous province, there will only be a handful of stores around the two major cities, Montreal and Quebec City."

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

The FATE of technology at Penn, today

Fairness, Accountability, Transparency and Ethics are topics on which economics and computer science intersect each other , and some other fields as well:

The “FATE” of Technology: Fairness, Accountability, Transparency and Ethics

October 17, 2018 | Glandt Forum, Singh Center for Nanotechnology
Wednesday, October 17th, 2018
Glandt Forum, Singh Center for Nanotechnology
Celebrating Five Years of the Warren Center
Reception to follow

1:00 pm: Welcome and brief remarks
Michael Kearns, Professor and National Center Chair of Computer and Information Science
Rakesh VohraGeorge A. Weiss and Lydia Bravo Weiss University Professor
1:10 pm: Aaron Roth, Class of 1940 Bicentennial Term Associate Professor of Computer and Information Science
“Ethical Algorithms”
1:30 pm: Annie LiangAssistant Professor of Economics
“Predicting and Understanding Human Behaviors through Machine Learning”
1:50 pm: Sandra González-BailónAssociate Professor at the Annenberg School for Communication
“Digital Technologies and Access to News”
2:15 pm: Break
2:30 pm: Panel with members of the Warren Center
Emily Falk, Associate Professor of Communication, Psychology, and Marketing
Junhyong Kim, Patricia M. Williams Term Professor of Biology
Konrad Kording, Penn Integrates Knowledge University Professor of Neuroscience and Bioengineering
3:00 pm: Keynote: Matthew SalganikProfessor of Sociology, Princeton University
“The Fragile Families Challenge”
4:00 pm: Michael Kearns, Professor and National Center Chair of Computer and Information Science
“The AlgoWatch Initiative”
4:30 pm: Concluding remarks by Vijay Kumar, Nemirovsky Family Dean

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Kim Krawiec on Repugnant Markets

One of my favorite scholars on one of my favorite subjects:

"In this episode, Kimberly D. Krawiec, Kathrine Robinson Everett Professor of Law at Duke University School of Law, discusses her scholarship on "repugnant markets" or "taboo trades," including prostitution and kidneys. Listeners might be interested in her papers "If We Pay Football Players, Why Not Kidney Donors?"; "If We Allow Football Players and Boxers to Be Paid for Entertaining the Public, Why Don't We Allow Kidney Donors to Be Paid for Saving Lives?"; "Repugnance Management and Transactions in the Body"; "Organ Entrepreneurs"; and "Contract Development in a Matching Market: The Case of Kidney Exchange." Of course, there are many more excellent papers on her SSRN page."

On her own blog linking to the podcast, Kim also included links to the following papers:

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.