Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Early admissions update at University of Virginia

Forbes has an article, by a college admissions counselor:

The Debate Over Early Decision In College Admission: Who Is It Good For?
by Brennan Barnard

"The University of Virginia (UVA) recently announced that they are adding a binding Early Decision (ED) application option with an October 15 deadline, under which students agree to attend if admitted. This news has once again struck the beehive of debate within the admission profession.

"A School Counselor’s Take

"October 15th is simply too early for many seventeen-year-olds to decide where they want to go to college. I feel the same way about this as back to school sales at the end of June, snow blowers for sale in August, or Halloween decorations in stores before Labor Day. Everybody is eager to move product, but let’s face it, early deadlines for college admission really are designed to benefit colleges, not students. Sure, it is nice for some kids to know early in their senior year that they have a college acceptance locked in. But that nicety is far outweighed by the myriad reasons why the creep of early applications is detrimental. Binding Early Decision policies are the worst of these evils, raising issues of both access and anxiety.
"If we absolutely want to keep the binding nature of ED and the ability for a student to send a strong message of commitment, perhaps we should have a universal deadline of January 1 and create a simultaneous Binding Decision (BD) option. Like many aspects of admission, we are faced with the increasing tension of doing what is best for the institution versus what is best for the student. There has to be a better system that can protect students and serve schools.

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Are Organ Procurment Organizations (OPOs) up to snuff? A NY Times video op=ed

Here's a link to the NY Times video, featuring patients in need of organs:

I couldn't figure out how to embed the video, but here's the accompanying text:

In the video Op-Ed above, people on the organ wait list argue that it’s time for the government to step in, provide oversight and require transparency in the organ recovery system. Research shows that organ procurement organizations (O.P.O.s), responsible for recovering organs, are inefficient and lack accountability. While a record number of organs have been transplanted in the past five years, that is not evidence of a well-working system: These numbers are bloated by a recent increase in opioid-related deaths.
In May, the White House released its unified agenda to set priorities for the Department of Health and Human Services. A rule was proposed to address and make changes to the standards used to evaluate O.P.O. performance. It’s now up to H.H.S. to determine what kind of change to make. To add your support for standardized O.P.O. metrics, sign this petition.
Tonya Ingram (@TonyaSIngram) is a 27-year-old waiting for a kidney in Los Angeles. Angelo Reid is waiting for a kidney in Brooklyn, N.Y. Melissa Bein is a former clinical director at an organ procurement organization. Maddi Bertrand, 19, is waiting for new lungs in Glen Ellyn, Ill.

Monday, June 24, 2019

Kidnapping insurance

Preston McAfee points me to the following interesting article:

The weird world of kidnapping insurance, by Jeff Spross

"A private market for insuring and dealing with kidnappings might sound, at first blush, like a terrible idea. A kidnapping is already a fraught situation; a mix of fear, greed, violence, and coercion that occurs outside the bounds of the law. And private insurers often have a reputation for being cold-blooded and predatory themselves. The average person could be forgiven for balking at the idea of combining the two.

"Yet not only does a private market for insuring kidnappings and advising the negotiations exist — by all accounts it's quite effective. If you're the victim of a kidnapping where professional insurers and negotiators are involved, the chances that you'll come back alive are roughly 97.5 percent.

"The K&R market consists of 20 or so firms, all operating out of Lloyd's of London, an international marketplace based in Britain, where insurance providers, clients, brokers and underwriters can all find one another. The K&R firms compete for business, and provide their clients with both insurance to backstop potential ransom payouts and consultants who help guide and strategize the actual negotiations with the kidnappers. While some wealthy individual families do occasionally buy the services of K&R providers, the vast majority of customers are companies insuring their employees who work in risky areas. Roughly three-fourths of Fortune 500 companies have some sort of policy, with total premiums reaching $250 to $300 million a year.
""The only way that kidnapping can work as well as it does is that the kidnappers understand that they're in a repeated business," Anja Shortland, an economist at King's College London, who's written a book on the K&R insurance market, explained to The Week. "They keep their promises this time and they treat the hostages well this time because they know that if they don't then their business will decline in the future."

That's where the private firms who provide the consulting and the insurance coverage come in: "It's a one-off transaction between the family and the kidnapper, but it's a repeated interaction for the insurance market," Shortland said."

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Luohan Academy 2019 Digital Economy Conference

I'm travelling towards Hangzhou today, to go to the conference of the still new Luohan Academy.
Here's the agenda:

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Richard Branson on Kidney Exchange

Richard Branson, the founder of Virgin Group, has a blog post about kidney exchange:

A new hope for those in need of a transplant

"Unfortunately, living donation isn’t always straightforward. Depending on the country, 40% or more of recipients are incompatible with their intended donors. In some places, that means potential donors are simply turned away, forcing those in desperate need of a transplant to wait until another compatible donor turns up.
"You don’t have to know much about the organ donation system to realise that doesn’t make much sense. That’s why I was interested to learn about Kidney Exchange Programs (KEPs). KEPs increase the number of transplants by pooling and matching pairs of donors and recipients.
"The matching process allows one previously incompatible donor-recipient pair, say a kidney patient and a family member willing to donate, to be matched with another pair. Under a KEP, donors are then swapped, resulting in two new compatible pairs. It can sound a little complicated but this video provides a clear explanation.
"I was pleased to learn that the UK Living Kidney Sharing Scheme (UKLKSS) has become the largest operating KEP in Europe, allowing pairs to match in two and three-way swaps.
"The unfortunate news is that most countries don’t have schemes like this. The UK is one of only three countries in Europe running an advanced KEP program, with other countries that do have schemes limiting them by only allowing two-way exchanges or by prohibiting altruistic donors.
It’s barriers like these that mean countries are missing out on saving thousands of lives. I urge policy makers in countries without KEPs to learn more about the programmes and consider the difference they could make.
"If more countries developed KEPs, just imagine what this could mean in the future. Through greater international cooperation, kidneys could be exchanged between countries meaning the lives of even the hardest-to-match patients could be saved.Fortunately, it is thanks to the fantastic work of organisations like the European Network for Collaboration on Kidney Exchange Programmes (ENCKEP), that some of this research is already being done.
ENCKEP brings together clinicians, economists, and policy makers to explore the legislative, medical, financial and ethical issues that surround greater collaboration on KEPs. Their latest report provides an overview of their work to date."

Friday, June 21, 2019

Surrogacy in NY...remains complicated

Surrogacy is a subject that brings out both sides of arguments about repugnant transactions. Vivian Wang does a great job of covering the story in the NY Times:

Surrogate Pregnancy Battle Pits Progressives Against Feminists
A bill to legalize paid surrogacy in New York passed the State Senate, but has found opposition from prominent feminists, including Gloria Steinem.

"The proposal to legalize surrogacy in New York was presented as an unequivocal progressive ideal, a remedy to a ban that burdens gay and infertile couples and stigmatizes women who cannot have children on their own.

"And yet, as the State Legislature hurtles toward the end of its first Democrat-led session in nearly a decade, the bill’s success is anything but certain.

"Long-serving female lawmakers have spoken out against it. Prominent feminists, including Gloria Steinem, have denounced it. Women’s rights scholars have argued that paid surrogacy turns women’s bodies into commodities and is coercive to poor women given the sizable payments it can bring.
"Surrogacy arrangements in the United States can cost anywhere from $20,000 to more than $200,000, according to a report from Columbia Law School.

Ms. Glick added, “It is pregnancy for a fee, and I find that commodification of women troubling.”

"But Senator Brad Hoylman, one of the bill’s sponsors, said the legislation showed “the importance of the L.G.B.T.Q. community to the State of New York.

I think that’s a mark of progress for our community and a mark of progress for human rights in general,” said Mr. Hoylman, who is the state’s only openly gay senator and has two daughters who were born through surrogacy in California.
"Washington State and New Jersey legalized paid surrogacy last year, joining about a dozen other states. Many other states allow it under certain circumstances or have no laws on the topic, effectively permitting it.

"Between 1999 and 2014 in the United States, more than 18,400 infants were born through gestational surrogacy, where the carrier is not related to the fetus. Of those, 10,000 were born after 2010, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"Yet the opposite has happened internationally. Surrogacy is illegal in most of Europe. And India — where so-called fertility tourism brought in $400 million each year — outlawed commercial surrogacy last year, over worries about exploitation."

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Seminar at Bocconi

I'll speak today, about Controversial Markets, at IGIER at Bocconi...

IGIER Seminar Series

June 20, 2019 - 12:30 to 13:45
room N02 - Velodromo
Alvin Roth (Stanford University)