Monday, June 30, 2014

Arrow Lecture at the Israel Institute for Advanced Studies: Repugnant Transactions

As part of the Summer School on Matching and Market Design, I'll be delivering the Arrow Lecture at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem today. It's open to the public:

Videos of the summer school lectures are available here. (Update: the video of my lecture is here: Alvin E. Roth (Stanford University) , Repugnant Transactions, 2014 ARROW LECTURE)

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Ancient repugnancies can change fast: Ten years of same sex marriage in the U.S.

NY Times June 27, 2014:  Same-Sex Marriages, 10 Years Later
"On May 23, 2004, The New York Times printed 41 wedding announcements that included 5 same-sex couples, the first legal gay marriages to appear in these pages. (It began publishing same-sex “celebrations” two years earlier.)
"Earlier that week, Massachusetts had become the first state to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Nineteen states and the District of Columbia do so now and on Wednesday, a federal appeals court struck down Utah’s same-sex marriage ban."

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Transplant Logistics: getting a heart across town in Chennai, in a 'green corridor'

Sangram Kadam points me to the following story in The Times of India: Chennai skips a heartbeat to save Mumbai woman

"When a human heart was being loaded into an ambulance at the General Hospital around 6.40pm on Monday, 6km away, at Light House, traffic inspector Uday Kumar's walkietalkie crackled to life. He had been preparing for this moment.

"The ambulance bearing the heart - harvested from a 27-year-old brain-dead man in GH and to be transplanted in a 21-yearold woman in Fortis Malar Hospitals, Adyar - would pass by the intersection he was guarding, in three seconds. For this, he has been here for three hours.

"Like him, 25 other police officers were on duty to ensure that the harvested heart reached its destination to save a life by minimizing the transit period. And they did it in style—the organ traversed the 12km stretch in 13 minutes and 22 seconds, between 6.44pm and 6.57pm. A little more than three hours later, the heart started beating in the chest of Hvovi Minocherchomji. Surgeons at Malar declared the transplant a success.
"The ambulance crossed 12 junctions with the help of 26 police officers. The team had a minor hiccup as they had to go against the flow of the traffic from the in-gate of GH to the signal. "We had to do this to avoid losing time by taking a U-turn. This was also done because holding the flow of pedestrians coming out of Chennai Central, on the opposite side of the road, would have been difficult," said Selvaraj. The change was made at the last minute.

"The traffic police created their first green corridor in 2009, when a heart had to be taken from Teynampet to Mogappair. "Back then, the heart was taken in a police vehicle," said Selvaraj. This time, a police vehicle went ahead of the ambulance to ensure the road was free of traffic and pedestrians. The traffic police are usually told two hours prior to the organ harvest. "While the convoy is on the move, all signals it crosses turn green. That's why the name green corridor," said Karunasagar, additional commissioner of police (traffic)."

Friday, June 27, 2014

More on the Iranian kidney market, from Tehran U.

Here's a further comment: Perfect Is the Enemy of Good: The Iranian System of
Paid Donation, by S. M. Khatami and M. Mahdavi-Mazdeh, American Journal of Transplantation 2014; 14: 1222–1223.

(It follows up on this earlier article.)

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Auction of bitcoins seized from Silk Road


29,656.51306529 bitcoins
Frequently Asked Questions (Updated 06/19/14)

The US Marshals neglect to mention the auction rules, for their June 27 auction of bitcoins seized from Silk Road. I surmise that it is a first price sealed bid auction, but it's a little interesting that is regarded so clearly as the default that nothing needs to be said...

They were earlier in the news for cc'ing rather than bcc'ing all the registered bidders in what was supposed to be an anonymous auction:

US Marshal CCs, rather than BCCs, those interested in anonymous Bitcoin auction
A simple CC/BCC mistake embarrasses agency in charge of selling off Silk Road funds.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

2014 ESA International Meetings Honolulu, Hawaiʻi June 26-29

The Department of Economics and the College of Social Sciences at the University of Hawaiʻi, with the help of the University of Hawaiʻi Economic Research Organization, look forward to welcoming you to the 2014 International Meetings of the Economic Science Association. The meetings will run from Thursday, June 26th (evening reception) to Sunday, June 29th, 2014.

Keynote lectures will be delivered by:
  1. Charles Holt (University of Virginia)
  2. Rosemarie Nagel (Universitat Pompeu Fabra)
  3. Markus Mobius (Microsoft Research)

Here's the program.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

The Jerusalem market design lectures are on YouTube

The market design lectures are being put up on YouTube a day at a time. If you couldn't make it to Jerusalem you can see them at home...

25th Jerusalem School in Economic Theory Matching and Market

25th Jerusalem School in Economic Theory Matching and Market Design Event date: Jun 23 - Jul 2 ,2014 Organizers: Scott Duke Kominers (Harvard University) Eric Maskin, Director (Harvard University) Alvin Roth (Stanford University) Eyal Winter, C...
Play all  

 Eric Maskin (Harvard University) Introduction to Matching and Allocation Problems (I)IAS HUJI
 Scott Duke Kominers (Harvard University) Introduction to Matching and Allocation Problems (II)IAS HUJI
 Alvin E. Roth (Stanford University) The Design of the National Resident Matching Program
Update: the first lecture today (which I guess will be on YouTube tomorrow) was by Itai Ashlagi

Monday, June 23, 2014

Fifth International Workshop on Computational Social Choice, Pittsburgh, June 23-25, 2014

Fifth International Workshop on Computational Social Choice, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, June 23-25, 2014

Invited Speakers

The program is here.

(And if you miss Eric B in Pittsburgh, you can catch him in Jerusalem on June 29).

Sunday, June 22, 2014

A job opening in Seattle public schools

Most readers of this blog are, I guess, economists interested in market design. But I know that some education professionals interested in school choice read it too, so here's a notice of a job opening in Seattle, that might be good for someone you know...

From: "Libros, Tracy" <>
To: "''" <>
Date: June 18, 2014 at 10:35 AM
Subject: Introduction 

Hi Neil,
Seattle Public Schools has an opening for someone to lead district work in demographic analysis and enrollment planning. In addition, we have a large capital program underway, and the Director would also be responsible for phasing in boundary changes as new buildings open. As I’m sure you know, a position such as this deals in both the technical and political realms.

I’m wondering if you know of anyone who might be interested in this position. Here’s a link to the information about the position: Director Enrollment & Planning Services. Also, please feel free to forward this to anyone else you think might be interested.

For more information, you can contact me by phone through June 23, and after that by email. Thanks for any leads you can send our way!

Tracy Libros
Manager, Enrollment Planning
Seattle Public Schools


And here's the formal job description
Job Title:Director Enrollment & Planning Services
Closing Date/Time:Continuous
Salary:$82,555.00 - $113,984.00 Annually 
Job Type:Full-Time
Location:John Stanford Center for Educational Excellence, Washington
Required Attachments:Cover letter and Resume

Supervise the work of the Enrollment Planning and Enrollment Services departments to ensure efficient operations in all aspects of student assignment, including both short- and long-term planning for enrollment projections, program placement, and facilities needs. Provide leadership and staff support to Superintendent and Assistant Superintendent, Capital, Facilities, and Enrollment in strategic work of the district, including development and implementation of the New Student Assignment Plan. Collaborate with multiple central office departments impacted by student enrollment.
 Essential Functions:
1.  Leads Transition Planning and implementation of the New Student Assignment Plan, including ongoing monitoring and development of recommended policy and operational changes to better support district strategic objectives. (30%)

2. Collaborates with other central departments and schools regarding student enrollment policies and projections, the impact on program placement and facility needs, and capacity management. (25%)

3. Supports and contributes to VAX migration work; provides high level feedback to program and project managers about priorities for completing this crucial effort; priorities staff time for VAX migration work. (10%)

4. Develops clear written materials to be used for public information about student enrollment (website, mailings, FAQ's,contact center,BFC, other departments; and responds to complex questions from schools, families, and central office departments. (10%)

5. Supports district stakeholder engagement through extensive public speaking and maintaining positive relationships with community groups such as PTSA, CPPS, critical friends, etc. (10%)

6. Supervises and evaluates the work of Enrollment Planning and Enrollment Services department staff. (5%)

7. Supports district efforts to eliminate the achievement gap through a persistent focus on ensuring that enrollment processes do not contribute to lost instructional time; leads and supports efforts to improve customer service, efficiencies, and cost effectiveness through streamlining of processes. (5%)

8. Ensures compliance with relevant state and federal requirements such as NCLB; supports work of other departments in meeting their compliance obligations (special education, ELL, Indian Education, OCR complaince audits, etc.); participates in OSPI hearings on behalf of district. (5%)

Performs related duties consistent with the scope and intent of this position.
 Minimum Qualifications:
Education:  Master's degree in planning, policy analysis, educational leadership, or related field.

Preferred Education PhD in planning, policy analysis, educational leadership, or related field.

Experience: 5 years of increasingly responsible professional experience in related field(s), including K-12 public school experience, experience in at least one other related planning field, and supervisory experience.

Preferred Experience:  Experience in project management desirable.

Clearances:  Criminal Justice Fingerprint, Background Clearance

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Algorithms: "Special Issue on Matching under Preferences"

Algorithms journal: "Special Issue on Matching under Preferences"

Algorithms 20147(2), 203-205; doi:10.3390/a7020203
Received: 14 March 2014; Accepted: 14 March 2014 / Published: 8 April 2014
Show/Hide Abstract | PDF Full-text (29 KB) 

Algorithms 20147(2), 189-202; doi:10.3390/a7020189
Received: 5 September 2013; in revised form: 22 March 2014 / Accepted: 27 March 2014 / Published: 4 April 2014
Show/Hide Abstract | PDF Full-text (234 KB) 

Algorithms 20147(1), 32-59; doi:10.3390/a7010032
Received: 23 June 2013; in revised form: 29 December 2013 / Accepted: 18 January 2014 / Published: 14 February 2014
Show/Hide Abstract | PDF Full-text (312 KB) 

Algorithms 20147(1), 1-14; doi:10.3390/a7010001
Received: 1 August 2013; in revised form: 9 January 2014 / Accepted: 10 January 2014 / Published: 22 January 2014
Show/Hide Abstract | PDF Full-text (231 KB) 

Algorithms 20136(4), 824-856; doi:10.3390/a6040824
Received: 21 June 2013; in revised form: 7 November 2013 / Accepted: 8 November 2013 / Published: 19 November 2013
Show/Hide Abstract | PDF Full-text (952 KB) 

Algorithms 20136(4), 782-804; doi:10.3390/a6040782
Received: 9 July 2013; in revised form: 7 November 2013 / Accepted: 8 November 2013 / Published: 18 November 2013
Show/Hide Abstract | PDF Full-text (242 KB) 

Algorithms 20136(4), 591-617; doi:10.3390/a6040591
Received: 14 August 2013; in revised form: 4 September 2013 / Accepted: 22 September 2013 / Published: 3 October 2013
Show/Hide Abstract | PDF Full-text (454 KB) 

Algorithms 20136(3), 532-545; doi:10.3390/a6030532
Received: 31 December 2012; in revised form: 27 July 2013 / Accepted: 9 August 2013 / Published: 21 August 2013
Show/Hide Abstract | PDF Full-text (223 KB) 

Algorithms 20136(3), 471-484; doi:10.3390/a6030471
Received: 1 August 2013; in revised form: 6 August 2013 / Accepted: 7 August 2013 / Published: 15 August 2013
Show/Hide Abstract | PDF Full-text (103 KB) 

Algorithms 20136(3), 383-395; doi:10.3390/a6030383
Received: 4 January 2013; in revised form: 2 June 2013 / Accepted: 4 June 2013 / Published: 24 June 2013
Show/Hide Abstract | PDF Full-text (187 KB) 

Algorithms 20136(2), 371-382; doi:10.3390/a6020371
Received: 27 December 2012; in revised form: 17 May 2013 / Accepted: 20 May 2013 / Published: 28 May 2013
Show/Hide Abstract | PDF Full-text (153 KB) 

Algorithms 20136(1), 161-168; doi:10.3390/a6010161
Received: 31 December 2012; in revised form: 25 January 2013 / Accepted: 8 March 2013 / Published: 18 March 2013
Show/Hide Abstract | PDF Full-text (165 KB) 

Friday, June 20, 2014

25th Jerusalem School in Economic Theory :Matching and Market Design, June 23-July 2

I'm off to Jerusalem for the 25th Jerusalem School in Economic Theory. This year the topic is Matching and Market Design

Event date: Jun 23 - Jul 2 ,2014 

    Scott Duke Kominers (Harvard University)
    Eric Maskin, Director (Harvard University)
    Alvin Roth (Stanford University)
    Eyal Winter, Codirector (The Hebrew University)

    Models of matching---in which agents are paired with one another to undertake transactions---have played an important role in contemporary economic theory. Matching algorithms have proven valuable in many real-life applications, including the assignment of students to schools, medical residents to hospitals, and organ donors to recipients. Matching theory has also helped illuminate thorny problems such as inequality and unemployment. The summer school will place greatest emphasis on design issues, but will touch on other aspects of matching as well.
    Atila AbdulkadirogluDuke University
    Itai AshlagiMIT
    Eric BudishUniversty of Chicago
    Scott Duke KominersHarvard University
    Jacob D. LeshnoColumbia University
    Eric S. MaskinHarvard University
    Paul R. MilgromStanford University
    Elliott PeransonNational Matching Services, Inc
    Assaf RommHarvard University
    Alvin E. RothStanford University

Monday, June 23
9:30-11:00 Eric Maskin (Harvard University)
 Introduction to Matching and Allocation Problems (I)
11:00-11:30 Coffee break
11:30-13:00 Scott Duke Kominers (Harvard University)
 Introduction to Matching and Allocation Problems (II)
13:00-14:30 Lunch break
14:30-16:00 Alvin E. Roth (Stanford University)
 The Design of the National Resident Matching Program

16:00 Reception

Tuesday, June 24
9:30- 11:00 Itai Ashlagi (MIT)
 Unbalanced Random Matching Markets: Competition and Complementarities
11:00-11:30 Coffee break
11:30-13:00 Elliott Peranson (National Matching Services, Inc.)
 Issues in Real-World Matching Market Design
13:00-14:30 Lunch break
14:30-16:00 Eric Maskin (Harvard University)
 Assortative Matching and Inequality

Wednesday, June 25
9:30-11:00 Paul R. Milgrom (Stanford University)
 Matching with Contracts
11:00-11:30 Coffee break
11:30-13:00 Scott Duke Kominers (Harvard University)
 Substitutability in Generalized Matching
13:00-14:30 Lunch break

Thursday, June 26
9:30-11:00 Paul R. Milgrom (Stanford University)
 Deferred Acceptance Heuristic Auctions
11:00-11:30 Coffee break

11:30-13:00 Paul R. Milgrom (Stanford University)
 Auctions for Internet Advertising
13:00-14:30 Lunch break

Friday, June 27
9:30-11:00 Alvin E. Roth (Stanford University)
 Kidney Exchange
11:00-11:30 Coffee break
11:30-13:00 Itai Ashlagi (MIT)
 Current Challenges in Kidney Exchange

Saturday, June 28

Sunday, June 29
9:30-11:00 Eric Budish (University of Chicago)
 Combinatorial Assignment
11:00-11:30 Coffee break
11:30-13:00 Eric Budish (University of Chicago)
 Financial Market Design

Monday, June 30
9:30-11:00 Atila Abdulkadiroglu (Duke University)
Theory of School Choice
11:00-11:30 Coffee break

11:30-13:00 Atila Abdulkadiroglu (Duke University)
 Empirics of School Choice
13:00-14:30 Lunch break
17:00-18:30 ARROW LECTURE
19:00 Dinner (invited speakers only)

Tuesday, July 1
9:30-11:00 Jacob D. Leshno (Columbia University)
 Dynamic Matching in Overloaded Systems
11:00-11:30 Coffee break
11:30-13:00 Assaf Romm (Harvard University)
 Efficient Assignment and the Israeli Medical Match
13:00-14:30 Lunch break
18:30 Concert at the Jerusalem Music Center and dinner at the Terasa Restaurant

Wednesday, July 2
9:30-11:00 Jacob D. Leshno (Columbia University)
 Large-Market Matching

Here's the poster .
Eric Maskin giving the opening lecture

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Slowing Down the Stock Market: design proposal in the news again

Eric Budish and his colleagues Peter Cramton and John Shim  are in the news again, for their proposals for frequent batch auctions as being better suited to algorithmic trading than the current design of continuous double auctions.  This kind of coverage is probably a hopeful sign for financial markets. Here's the latest from Bloomberg:  Slowing Down the Stock Market

Many a fortune has been won (and lost) in the U.S. stock market. The market's primary purpose, though, is not to dispense riches but to serve the public good by allocating capital to the best uses -- to the ideas most likely to drive sales, earn profits and reward shareholders.
Today's stock market is falling short. A wasteful arms race among high-frequency traders, the growth of dark pools (private trading venues) and assorted conflicts of interest have undermined its performance. If investors don't trust the market, that hurts capital formation, not to mention retirement and college savings. The number of Americans who own stock directly or through mutual funds is at a 12-year low -- a sign that individual investors think the market isn't for them.
Fixing the problems will require more than a tweak here and there. One idea that's winning converts would replace the 24-hour, continuous trading of stocks with frequent auctions at regular intervals.
Why would that help? Because it would lessen the emphasis on speed and direct more attention to the price that investors are willing to pay for stocks, given the prospects of the companies concerned, their industries and the broader economy. The high-speed arms race would subside, because shaving another millisecond off the time it takes to trade would confer no benefit.
The idea has a good pedigree. It has been around at least since 1960, when Milton Friedman proposed a version for the sale of U.S. Treasury bonds. Researchers led by the University of Chicago's Eric Budish refined the concept in a paper last year.
Under their system, orders would be sent to the exchanges, as they are now, but instead of being processed immediately, they'd be collected into batches, based on when they arrived at the exchange. A computer would then use an algorithm to match the orders. Auctions would take place at least every second (for 23,400 auctions per day, per stock), matching supply with demand at the midpoint, or the uniform price. Orders that don't get matched -- either because they exceeded the volume of shares available or because their buy or sell quotes didn't conform to the uniform price -- would automatically be included in the next auction.
As well as prioritizing price over speed, this approach would make another flash crash less likely. That's because it would stem the flood of buy, sell and cancel commands that high-frequency traders issue every second in their efforts to probe the market.
Auctions would also reduce the need for dark pools, because the orders of institutional investors wouldn't be visible to other participants. The fear among big investors such as mutual funds -- that placing an order will move the price against them -- is the reason dark pools caught on in the first place. The result should be lower transaction costs and higher investment returns for 401(k) owners and other savers.
The conflicts of interest that brokers now face when they send orders to the trading venue that pays them the highest rebate or fee, rather than the one that offers the best execution, would recede as well. That's a good thing. Brokers who put their own financial interests above their clients' are violating a duty to get them the best price.
Goldman Sachs Group Inc., among others, is interested enough in frequent batch auctions that it's working with Budish to find an exchange that will conduct a pilot program and a regulatory agency that will monitor the results. Mary Jo White, the Securities and Exchange Commission chair, indicated in a June 5 speech her interest in batch auctions. She should make it a priority to conduct a test program. It's a promising idea.
And here's more from the Budish fan club.