Sunday, October 1, 2017

Market design in the September Econometrica

The September Econometrica contains two very different market design papers.

Research Design Meets Market Design: Using Centralized Assignment for Impact Evaluation

DOI: 10.3982/ECTA13925
p. 1373-1432
Atila Abdulkadiroğlu, Joshua D. Angrist, Yusuke Narita, Parag A. Pathak
A growing number of school districts use centralized assignment mechanisms to allocate school seats in a manner that reflects student preferences and school priorities. Many of these assignment schemes use lotteries to ration seats when schools are oversubscribed. The resulting random assignment opens the door to credible quasi‐experimental research designs for the evaluation of school effectiveness. Yet the question of how best to separate the lottery‐generated randomization integral to such designs from non‐random preferences and priorities remains open. This paper develops easily‐implemented empirical strategies that fully exploit the random assignment embedded in a wide class of mechanisms, while also revealing why seats are randomized at one school but not another. We use these methods to evaluate charter schools in Denver, one of a growing number of districts that combine charter and traditional public schools in a unified assignment system. The resulting estimates show large achievement gains from charter school attendance. Our approach generates efficiency gains over ad hoc methods, such as those that focus on schools ranked first, while also identifying a more representative average causal effect. We also show how to use centralized assignment mechanisms to identify causal effects in models with multiple school sectors. 

Dual-Donor Organ Exchange

DOI: 10.3982/ECTA13971
p. 1645-1671
Haluk Ergin, Tayfun Sönmez, M. Utku Ünver
Owing to the worldwide shortage of deceased‐donor organs for transplantation, living donations have become a significant source of transplant organs. However, not all willing donors can donate to their intended recipients because of medical incompatibilities. These incompatibilities can be overcome by an exchange of donors between patients. For kidneys, such exchanges have become widespread in the last decade with the introduction of optimization and market design techniques to kidney exchange. A small but growing number of liver exchanges have also been conducted. Over the last two decades, a number of transplantation procedures emerged where organs from two living donors are transplanted to a single patient. Prominent examples include dual‐graft liver transplantation, lobar lung transplantation, and simultaneous liver‐kidney transplantation. Exchange, however, has been neither practiced nor introduced in this context. We introduce dual‐donor organ exchange as a novel transplantation modality, and through simulations show that living‐donor transplants can be significantly increased through such exchanges. We also provide a simple theoretical model for dual‐donor organ exchange and introduce optimal exchange mechanisms under various logistical constraints. 

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