Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Removing financial dis-incentives from kidney donation in New Zealand

Frank McCormick points out this encouraging story from New Zealand, about removing financial disincentives from donating a kidney:

'Recognising the heroes' - MP's bill will give organ donors full compo while they recover

"Mr Bishop has steered a Member's Bill into law that will pay donors 100 per cent of their income for up to eight weeks plus childcare costs if needed.

In 2015 there were 78 live donors who donated a kidney or part of their liver, and "while the rate of live and deceased donors is slowly increasing, New Zealand still has one of the lowest organ donation rates in the world.

"The evidence is pretty clear that financial barriers is one thing that people do think about," Mr Bishop said."

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Game theoretic questions and the Trump transition, on Bloomberg Surveillance

Early yesterday morning I was interviewed on Bloomberg Surveillance, about what I thought were some game theoretic questions facing the Trump transition and administration. We talked about cabinet choices as commitments, and trade and climate agreements as collective action problems...

My contribution starts at minute 7:30 and goes until 12:35.

Play episode 

Monday, November 28, 2016

Fairness for Digital Infrastructure conference, January 19-20, 2017, at Penn

Fairness for Digital Infrastructure, January 19-20, 2017, UPenn, Philadelphia PA

"A large part of our digital infrastructure is designed to automate decision making, and ideally should improve economic efficiency. Automated decisions now govern, among many other things, whether we are approved for credit cards, what advertisements we are shown, and what search results we see. Algorithms determine the government’s perception of an individual’s risk (e.g. at airport security) or trustworthiness (e.g. in evaluating recidivism risk for parole decisions). The aim of the workshop is to better understand issues surrounding “unfairness” associated with the use of machine learning and automated decision making. This includes the frictions that are the cause of such inadvertent unfairness, and novel technical solutions to solve these problems.
This workshop will take place at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia on January 19th and 20th 2017.
Co-organizers: Sampath Kannan, Jamie Morgenstern, Mallesh Pai, Aaron Roth, Rakesh Vohra"

Sunday, November 27, 2016

An interview with computer scientist Cynthia Dwork

Quanta Magazine, a publication of the Simons foundation, has an interview with Cynthia Dwork on differential privacy and fairness among other things.

How to Force Our Machines to Play Fair
The computer scientist Cynthia Dwork takes abstract concepts like privacy and fairness and adapts them into machine code for the algorithmic age.

Here are some earlier news stories about Apple's introduction of differential privacy to the iPhone,  which I've been following for a number of reasons.

From TechCrunch: What Apple’s differential privacy means for your data and the future of machine learning

From Wired: Apple’s ‘Differential Privacy’ Is About Collecting Your Data—But Not ​Your Data

Apple's differential privacy analyzes the group, protects the individual
Posted on June 21, 2016 

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Organ donation in Singapore: not rocking the boat

The Singapore Medical Journal publishes an extremely cautious article on Policy options for increasing the supply of transplantable kidneys in Singapore

It concludes with these
In order to increase the number of LDs within the existing regulatory framework, non-repugnant incentives can be considered, such as an organ donation award that not only recognises the significance of the donor’s act but also creates meaningful conversation on the importance of organ donation in saving lives. In addition, local online platforms can be created to help ESRD patients appeal to the public for directed kidney donations.

Meanwhile, in order to increase the number of DDs, it is critically important to establish administrative incentives for healthcare professionals to take responsibility for improving the organ transplantation process through QI programmes. Therefore, measures that can be considered include stronger incentives and training for personnel involved in donor-identification, coupled with greater transparency for both individual hospital DD actualisation rates and DCD statistics. Finally, potential donors and their immediate families can be further incentivised through a transplant priority system which favours donors’ families.

In conclusion, greater measures to encourage and facilitate donation can be implemented at all levels to meet society’s transplantation needs. Moving forward, all relevant institutions in Singapore are encouraged to contribute their insights and experience in increasing the supply of kidneys for transplantation so that a meaningful national conversation can commence and best practices adopted to address this urgent shortage."

Friday, November 25, 2016

An interview in the Buenas Aires Herald (in English): "All market design is political"

I went to Argentina hopeful that I could get some insight there into our new president-elect, since they have had a lot of experience with populist politicians. The consensus there seemed to be that we shouldn't expect campaign promises to be taken too seriously, since populist voters quickly forget them and can be mollified with new promises. And maybe we should expect inflation...

While I was there, newspaper reporters couldn't resist asking me about the election results, together with market design...

Here's an interview (in English) in the Buenos Aires Herald.

‘All market design is political’

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Marilda Sotomayor wins the 2016 TWAS prize for Social Science

THE WORLD ACADEMY OF SCIENCES (TWAS), for the advancement of science in developing countries, has just announced its 2016 prizes:

TWAS has announced the winners of the TWAS Prizes for 2016 at the Academy's 27th General Meeting in Kigali, Rwanda.
TWAS Prizes are awarded in nine fields: Agricultural Sciences, Biology, Chemistry, Earth Sciences, Engineering Sciences, Mathematics, Medical Sciences, Physics, and Social Sciences (called the TWAS-Celso Furtado Prize). This year, there are 10 prize winners: two from Brazil; one from Chile; two from China; two from India; one from Mexico; one from Pakistan and one from Turkey. The prize winners include one woman.
Each TWAS Prize carries a cash award of USD15,000. The winners will lecture about their research at TWAS's 28th General Meeting in 2017, when they will also receive a plaque and the prize money.

Here is the part about Marilda:

Social Sciences
  • Marilda SOTOMAYOR of Brazil for her extraordinary contribution and innovative research in the field of matching markets  

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

My talk at UCEMA in Buenos Aires (video)

On my visit to Argentina my first talk (of 5) was at UCEMA, on November 16. You can see some pictures here.

Here is a video of my talk, about market design and my book Who Gets What and Why. My talk starts at minute 7:50.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Kidney exchange talk at INCUCAI in Buenos Aires

On my visit to Argentina last week I gave a talk Wednesday on kidney exchange at the Argentine transplant coordination authority INCUCAI, which was followed by a lively and largely positive discussion of how (and whether) to try to bring kidney exchange to Argentina.

El Premio Nobel de Economía Alvin Roth brindó una charla sobre donación y trasplante en el INCUCAI  (Google Translate: "The Nobel Prize in Economics Alvin Roth gave a talk about donation and transplantation in the INCUCAI"}

Both at INCUCAI and in my subsequent meeting in Tucuman, there was interest not only in kidney exchange, but in global kidney exchange, as Argentina presently has foreign patients on the deceased donor waiting lists at public hospitals.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Global Kidney Exchange to Overcome Financial Barriers to Kidney Transplantation

 Forthcoming in the American Journal of Transplantation:

Kidney Exchange to Overcome Financial Barriers to Kidney Transplantation
Michael A. Rees, Ty B. Dunn, Christian S. Kuhr, Christopher L. Marsh, Jeffrey Rogers, Susan E. Rees, Alejandra Cicero, Laurie J. Reece, Alvin E. Roth,
Obi Ekwenna, David E. Fumo, Kimberly D. Krawiec, Jonathan E. Kopke, Samay Jain, Miguel Tan, Siegfredo R. Paloyo

Accepted manuscript online: 7 November 2016

"This article has been accepted for publication and undergone full peer review but has not been through the copyediting, typesetting, pagination and proofreading process, which may lead to differences between this version and the Version of Record. Please cite this article as doi: 10.1111/ajt.14106"

Organ shortage is the major limitation to kidney transplantation in the developed world. Conversely, millions of end-stage renal disease patients in the developing world die because they cannot afford renal replacement therapy—even when willing living kidney donors exist. This juxtaposition between countries with funds but no available kidneys and those with available kidneys but no funds, prompts us to propose an exchange program utilizing each nation's unique assets. Our proposal leverages the cost savings achieved through earlier transplantation over dialysis to fund the cost of kidney exchange between developed-world patient/donor pairs with immunological barriers and developing-world patient/donor pairs with financial barriers. By making developed-world healthcare available to impoverished patients in the developing world, we replace unethical transplant tourism with global kidney exchange—a modality equally benefitting rich and poor. We report the one-year experience of an initial Filipino pair, whose recipient was transplanted in the US with an American donor's kidney at no cost to him. The Filipino donor donated to an American in the US through a kidney exchange chain. Follow-up care and medications in the Philippines were supported by funds from the US. We show that the logistical obstacles in this approach, although considerable, are surmountable.

And here's that first GKE chain to date: it started with an American non-directed donor (blood type A) donating to the Filipino patient, and this chart shows the first 11 transplants that resulted.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Visit to Tucuman, Argentina, where there may be prospects for kidney exchange

During my visit to Argentina, my host, Julio Elias, arranged a number of talks and meetings which I'll report on as I get organized.  Some of the meetings were about the prospects of organizing kidney exchange in Argentina (where there has already been one famous exchange).  My first meeting on this subject was in Buenos Aires, my second in Tucuman. Both were promising.

Here are some reports from Tucuman.
Here's an account of my meeting with Governor  Juan Manzur and the Minister of Public Health Rossana Chahla and their colleagues, on November 18.
Manzur se reunió con el premio Nobel de Economía Alvin Roth

Here's a news story that combines an interview with me (the reporter asked first about Donald Trump and only then about kidneys), followed by some comments by the Minister of Public Health on the prospects for kidney exchange:

“Las barreras al comercio en Estados Unidos afectarán a países desarrollados y a emergentes”

from Google Translate:
"The health minister of the province, Rossana Chahla said that the Government was interested in the visit of the American expert for their expertise in increasing the number of transplants and ablations, and the possibility of replicating this model in Tucuman.

"from here we will coordinate with Argentine economists studying this issue and we want to have a specialist to see visit how to work in Chicago (United States) and bring solutions to the province benefit people , "he said.

on the other hand, the official said that the work of Roth have shown that interventions crossed kidney transplants allow the state to reduce costs in dialysis treatments and reduce waiting lists of patients.

" in the United States there is a law that allows cross and living donor transplants, which means that by a living donor, you can make a donation chain where several people benefit , "said Health Minister, as appropriated news agency Telam .

he added that in Argentina this can only be done with a court order and stressed that, therefore, only transplants are specified with cadaver donor, generating extensive waiting lists for access to organs.

"the US system reduces lists and Roth shows that these interventions reduces health costs, and helps solve the quality of life of people because not to do dialysis and can be reinserted fast occupationally "analyzed Chahla. "
And here's a report of a subsequent meeting held by Dr Chahla:

Mejoras en materia de trasplantes (Improvements in transplant).
"Minister of Public Health, Dr. Rossana Chahla, met with the director of Cucaituc, Dr. Aldo Bunader to treat transplant referral service issues in the province. They were attended by Nobel Prize-winning economist Alvin Roth, who offered to work together in what refers to Software, donation and transplantation cross.

Bunader was satisfied with the points raised and by the visit of economist Roth. "We have been meeting with him. He offered all their service, make an agreement and exchange; We're very pleased with that part, "he said."

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Match-Up 2017, call for papers

Friday, November 18, 2016

LI Reunión Anual de la Asociación Argentina de Economía Política: Nov 16-18

I'll be speaking today at the Conference of the Argentine Association of Political Economy:
  • Fecha de Inicio: 16/11/2016
  • Fecha de Finalización: 18/11/2016
  • Dónde: San Miguel de Tucumán, Tucumán, Argentina
  • Dirección: Facultad de Derecho y Ciencias Sociales- UNT


En esta ocasión con motivo del Bicentenario de la Independencia, se decide que nuestra provincia sea anfitriona, destacando la participación de los siguientes emblemas del ámbito de la economía:
• Alvin Roth. Premio Nobel en Economía, año 2012.
• Profesor Iván Werning. Referente del MIT (Massachussetts Institute of Tecnology)
• Federico Sturzennegger. Presidente del Banco Central.
En cuanto a las actividades que se realizarán, los causantes informan que están programadas conferencias magistrales a cargo de los disertantes mencionados, además de mesas panel y sesiones simultáneas donde se tratan temas de interés para la profesión y su incidencia en la sociedad.
Considerando que la Reunión de la AAEP es el evento más importante de la profesión y la importancia de los disertantes confirmados, los organizadores estiman la participación de 300 asistentes. 

Alvin Roth se graduó de investigación de operaciones en la Universidad de Columbia (1971), y realizó su master (1973) y su doctorado (1974) también en investigación de operaciones en la Universidad de Standford.
Roth es catedrático universitario en Harvard y Stanford e investiga en teoría de los juegos, la economía experimental y el diseño del mercado. Es conocido por su enfoque en la aplicación de su teoría económica a soluciones en los problemas del mundo real.
En 2012 ganó el Premio Nobel de Economía conjuntamente con Lloyd Shapley por su trabajo: “La teoría sobre la asignaciones estables y la práctica del diseño de mercado”. 

Thursday, November 17, 2016

National Living Donor Assistance Center (NLDAC) Links

If someone you know in the U.S. needs travel assistance to be a living kidney donor, let them know about NLDAC:


Each year, the NLDAC Advisory Group meets to review program information and make recommendations for improvements. This year, the Advisory Group meeting was led by their new chair, Zoe Stewart, MD, PhD, MPH. We would like to thank this dedicated group of volunteers for their time and expertise: Brenda Dyson; Cathy Garvey, RN, BA, CCTC; Adam Gray, LCSW, CCTSW;  Maryl Johnson, MD; Marie Morgievich, BS, BSN, MSN, CCTC; Lisa Morrison, Kay Payne, PhD; Al Roth, PhD; Jennifer Steel, PhD; Jane Tan, MD, PhD, MS; Betsy Walsh, JD, MPH; Errol Williams; Alexander Wiseman, MD; Warren (Kip) Wright, MSW, LCSW; Mesmin Germain, MPH, MBA (Ex Officio); and Frank Holloman (Ex Officio). 
NLDAC Advisory Group and Program Team Members 
September 30th, 2016
Arlington, VA

NLDAC Survey Comments - September 2016
The Results are In words in newspaper headlines to illustrate voting or election survey or poll results reported by news outlets"I am so appreciative that this program exists to help the process run smoothly!! Thank you SO very much!"-Living Donor, Methodist Specialty & Transplant Hospital, San Antonio, TX

"Over all this was wonderful experience and I would do it again if was able."-Living Donor, Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Bethesda, MD

"Very helpful - would have been very difficult financially without the help."-Living Donor, Rochester Methodist Hospital - Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN

"You guys were amazing. I could not have donated without your help!"
-Living Donor, University of Utah Medical Center, Salt Lake City, UT
"You all do a great job. I cannot see anything to improve the NLDAC. Thank you so much for helping me and my family. Thanks!!!"
-Living Donor, University of Maryland Medical System, Baltimore, MD

"This is a wonderful program that made a huge difference in my life. It made it possible not to worry about the fact that I was not supporting the rest of my family because I was spending so much on the process. HUGE BLESSING!"-Living Donor, Abbott Northwestern Hospital, Minneapolis, MN

Contact Us!
If you have questions or comments about our program or need assistance completing an application, please contact the NLDAC team at Toll Free: 1-888-870-5002, Phone: 703-414-1600, Fax: 703-414-7874 or E-mail: We are located in Arlington, VA and are available M-F 9:00am-5:00pm ET. NLDAC provides services via a HRSA grant awarded to the University of Arizona and the partners listed below. 

Health Resources and Services Administration | American Society of Transplant Surgeons | University of Arizona Health Sciences | Arbor Research Collaborative for Health | Washington University - Missouri | Mayo Clinic - Arizona

Funding for this project is supported by grant number U13HS07689 from the Healthcare System Bureau, Health Resources and Services Administration, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.  The contents of this electronic newsletter are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the funder.  
Educational Videos

#1 Who is Eligible for NLDAC?

#2 How to Apply for NLDAC

#3 After NLDAC Application is Approved

Worksheets English

Worksheets Spanish