Saturday, December 14, 2019

Matching in Marathi (the language of Maharashtra)

Ashutosh Thakur points out to me this article in the main Maharashtraian newspaper, ''Loksatta.''

संज्ञा आणि संकल्पना : ..जिथून पडल्या गाठी
अर्थशास्त्रात असलेली, पण आर्थिक व्यवहार नसलेली आपली आजची संकल्पना म्हणजे-मॅचिंग मार्केट्स.

Google translate doesn't make much headway with the top headline, but renders the subheading as
"Matching markets today are our concepts of economics, but not financial transactions."

Friday, December 13, 2019

Skin donation, by the square foot, for New Zealand volcano burn victims

CNN has the story, about a little-publicized part of the market for body parts:

New Zealand has ordered more than 1,290 square feet of skin for volcano victims

"New Zealand has ordered 1,292 square feet of skin to treat patients injured in Monday's volcanic eruption on White Island, authorities said Wednesday.

"A total of 47 people were on White Island, off the coast of North Island, when the eruption occurred. Eight people have been confirmed dead, and more than 20 others are currently hospitalized in critical condition.
"The skin is now needed to treat patients severely injured by the volcanic ash and gas. On Tuesday, medical officials said 27 people in hospital had burns to at least 30% of their bodies and many have inhalation burns that require airway support.
"We anticipate that we will require an additional 1.2 million square centimeters (1,292 square feet) of skin for the ongoing needs of the patients."

"To put that into context, the average human body has about 11 square feet (1 square meter) to 21 square feet (2 square meters) of skin surface area.

"The skin order has been placed and will come from the United States, Watson said. Skin and tissue banks from neighboring Australia, like the Donor Tissue Bank of Victoria, are also providing skin grafts and supplies.

"The skin grafts come from donors -- like organ donors, skin donors register to donate their skin after death. When skin is donated, usually only a thin layer is taken, like the skin that peels when you are sunburned, according to the Australian government's donation site. The skin grafts are usually taken from donors' backs or the back of their legs.

"The demand for skin is particularly high given the unprecedented number of severe burns to the victims, authorities said Wednesday"

Here's a story with some other detail:
Aussies donate skin for volcano survivors

"The layers that we provide are essentially the epidermis which is the top layer of skin and a small lawyer of dermis underneath the skin," said Dr Stefan Poniatowski, head of the Donor Tissue Bank of Victoria.

"The immune system of the recipient will reject the epidermis layer, but the dermis will actually incorporate and provide a nice healthy wound bed for the patients' own skin to be grown or applied over the top.

"The allograft skin will be rejected, but it becomes a temporary biological dressing."
"The allograft skin is stored in liquid nitrogen and safely kept at ultra-low temperatures for up to five years."

HT: Philip Held

Thursday, December 12, 2019

Might there be enough deceased donor organs if we used them efficiently?

It's hard to know how many deceased donor organs could be made available if we used them as efficiently as possible. Here's an essay in the WSJ by Stanford pulmonologist Dr. David Weill, who thinks that, with no wastage, the supply might be sufficient to meet the demand.

Supply Isn’t the Problem With Organ Transplants
There are plenty of donors to meet the need, but the system is so inefficient that available organs often don’t reach desperate patients
By David Weill
Dec. 6, 2019
"One of the first things that transplant doctors learn is that there are not enough organs to go around. We repeat it to our patients and ourselves and, in a way, it helps us to temper our expectations of saving every patient on our waiting list. But there isn’t really an organ shortage. We are just failing to make effective use of the organs that we could transplant."

HT: Alex Chan

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Matching and market design in the latest issue of Theoretical Economics

Theoretical Economics, Volume 14, Number 4 (November 2019) has several articles on matching and market design

Common enrollment in school choice
Mehmet Ekmekci, M. Bumin Yenmez

Abstract: Increasingly, more school districts across the US are using centralized admissions for charter, magnet, and neighborhood schools in a common enrollment system. We first show that, across all school-participation patterns, full participation in the common (or unified) enrollment system leads to the most preferred outcome for students. Second, we show that, in general, participation by all schools may not be achievable because schools have incentives to stay out. This may explain why some districts have not managed to attain full participation. We also consider some specific settings where full participation can be achieved and propose two schemes that can be used by policymakers to achieve full participation in general settings.

School choice under partial fairness
Umut Dur, A. Arda Gitmez, Özgür Yılmaz

Abstract: We generalize the school choice problem by defining a notion of allowable priority violations. In this setting, a weak axiom of stability (partial stability) allows only certain priority violations. We introduce a class of algorithms called the Student Exchange under Partial Fairness (SEPF). Each member of this class gives a partially stable matching that is not Pareto dominated by another partially stable matching (i.e. constrained efficient in the class of partially stable matchings). Moreover, any constrained efficient matching that Pareto improves upon a partially stable matching can be obtained via an algorithm within the SEPF class. We characterize the unique algorithm in the SEPF class satisfying a desirable incentive property. The extension of the model to an environment with weak priorities enables us to provide a characterization result which proves the counterpart of the main result in Erdil and Ergin (2008).

Full substitutability
John William Hatfield, Scott Duke Kominers, Alexandru Nichifor, Michael Ostrovsky, Alexander Westkamp

Abstract: Various forms of substitutability are essential for establishing the existence of equilibria and other useful properties in diverse settings such as matching, auctions, and exchange economies with indivisible goods. We extend earlier models' definitions of substitutability to settings in which each agent can be both a buyer in some transactions and a seller in others, and show that all these definitions are equivalent. We then introduce a new class of substitutable preferences that allows us to model intermediaries with production capacity. We also prove that substitutability is preserved under economically important transformations such as trade endowments, mergers, and limited liability.

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Medically assisted suicide.

Several recent stories caught my eye on the controversial subject of medically assisted suicide, aka death with dignity, medical assistance in dying (MAID), and some other names.

He died by suicide in front of Alberta’s legislature. He said he wanted to bring attention to Medical Assistance in Dying   By Nadine Yousif, Star Edmonton, Sat., Dec. 7, 2019

"In his own final moments, Chan, 62, wanted people to know about the struggles of his loved ones, and how increased access to medical assistance in dying could help many end what may otherwise be a lifetime of suffering."

The Champion Who Picked a Date to Die by ANDREW KEH, NY Times, Dec. 5, 2019

"Knowing she had the legal right to die helped Marieke Vervoort live her life. It propelled her to medals at the Paralympics. But she could never get away from the pain.
Andrew Keh and Lynsey Addario spent almost three years reporting on Marieke Vervoort as she and her parents wrestled with her decision to die by euthanasia. They visited her multiple times at home and in hospital stays in Belgium, and accompanied her on trips to the Canary Islands and Japan."

Aid in Dying Soon Will be Available to More Americans. Few Will Choose It.
By October, more than one in five U.S. adults will be able to obtain lethal prescriptions if terminally ill. But for those who try, obstacles remain.
By Paula Span, July 8, 2019  NY Times

Monday, December 9, 2019

Unraveling has made investment banks the farm teams of private equity... least that's the argument made in this article (full of nitty gritty detail) at Vanity Fair:

In the battle for young talent, investment banks have been reduced to prep schools for private equity. Inside the cutthroat recruiting process launching the next generation of the superrich—and what it reveals about the status realignment rocking Wall Street.

"The recruitment calendar keeps accelerating. Two years before he started at Morgan Stanley, the former analyst said, the private-equity vultures began circling the investment banks in March. The following year, recruiting began in April. Today, analysts who begin at Morgan Stanley in August are being courted by private-equity firms in mid-September—just weeks after they arrive.

"This super-charged dynamic can make for very odd interviews. “It’s so accelerated. Basically what you’re doing at the private-equity firm is you are saying, First of all, can this person hold a conversation?” the former analyst says. After that, the private equity people want to know what members of the new class are specializing in, and at which Wall Street bank. “Kids that are working in the mergers and acquisitions group at Morgan Stanley are probably going to get a great experience 8 times out of 10,” he explains. “Nine times out of 10. So I will want to interview those people that I consider to be in good groups at strong banks, where I hope and I assume that they are going to get the experience that they need that, by two years from now, when they come in the door, they are educated and their analytical skills and financial skills are up to snuff.”
"Somewhat surprisingly, most firms don’t seem to object. Rather, they have come to grips with the reality of the situation, even if they don’t like it, and recognize that they risk not getting the analysts at all if they put up too much of a stink. Some firms even encourage the analysts to go to private-equity firms—because that gives them a better chance of getting the very best college graduates. A partner at one firm even went to bat for one of the analysts who made it through the second round of recruiting at a big private-equity firm, but did not make it to the final round. The partner called up someone he knew at the private-equity firm and got the analyst back into the process. He got the job. “It’s like, I’m going to get you whatever job you want, but you’re going to bust your balls for me for the next two years,” the partner tells me.

"One young banker who got an offer from Blackstone recalled the supportive response when he walked into a partner’s office to share the good news. “He said, ‘That’s great. I’ve got to do a good job training you so that Jon Gray’”—Blackstone’s new president and chief operating officer—“‘thinks that I did a good job with you.’” (There is one exception to this good humor: Goldman Sachs, which has a three-year analyst program. “If they find out you are recruiting, they’re going to fire you,” says one analyst. “It’s official policy.” A Goldman spokesman says while that is true, some of their analysts still get recruited away from the firm.)".

Earlier post:

Monday, September 23, 2019