Wednesday, September 30, 2020

A modest proposal for the design of presidential debates

 1. Turn off the microphone of whoever isn't supposed to be speaking.

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Human infection challenge trial(s) for covid-19 vaccine likely to start in UK in January

 The Financial Times has the story:

UK to test vaccines on volunteers deliberately infected with Covid-19--‘Human challenge trials’ intended to accelerate vaccine development programmes   by  Clive Cookson.

"London is to host the world’s first Covid-19 human challenge trials — in which healthy volunteers are deliberately infected with coronavirus to assess the effectiveness of experimental vaccines.

"The UK government-funded studies are expected to begin in January ...

"The researchers, who did not want to comment publicly ahead of the launch, said the trials would play a vital role in narrowing the large field of promising Covid-19 vaccines likely to move into clinical testing early next year.

"Volunteers will be inoculated with a vaccine and a month or so later receive a “challenge” dose of Sars-Cov-2, the virus that causes Covid-19, under controlled conditions."

"About 2,000 potential volunteers have signed up for challenge studies in the UK through the US-based advocacy group 1Day Sooner, which campaigns for Covid-19 infection trials and has enlisted 37,000 people worldwide. Traditional clinical trials need tens of thousands of participants and researchers would struggle to attract enough for multiple vaccine studies."

Monday, September 28, 2020

Judicial clerkships in the time of coronavirus--uneven compliance with the pilot hiring plan, and post-clerkship connections

 An article in the UC Davis Law Review Online discusses the hiring of law clerks by U.S. judges, during the current pandemic,  with reference to the  Federal Law Clerk Hiring (Pilot) Plan which is in its second year this year. (The plan calls for judges to delay hiring second year law students until June, and to leave offers open for at least 48 hours.)

The Federal Law Clerk Hiring Pilot and the Coronavirus Pandemic  by Carl Tobias, UC Davis Law Review Online, 2020,54, 1-20.

The article says that compliance with the plan is uneven, but that "numerous jurists who support the nascent pilot are Democratic Presidents' confirmees ... while copious judges who seem to oppose the pilot  in turn are GOP chief executives' appointees..." (p9).


An article in the NY Times talks about why clerkships are so valuable to clerks:

Law Firms Pay Supreme Court Clerks $400,000 Bonuses. What Are They Buying?   Inside information and influence with the clerks’ former bosses may figure in the transactions, a new study suggests     by Adam Liptak

"Supreme Court justices make $265,600 a year. The chief justice gets $277,700.

"Their law clerks do a lot better. After a year of service at the court, they are routinely offered signing bonuses of $400,000 from law firms, on top of healthy salaries of more than $200,000."

The article goes on to talk about the influence that clerks have later in their careers, when arguing cases before their former bosses. It's based on this article

The Influence of Personalized Knowledge at the Supreme Court: How (Some) Former Law Clerks Have the Inside Track by Ryan C. Black1 and Ryan J. Owens, Political Research Quarterly, 2020.

Abstract: When arguing at the U.S. Supreme Court, former High Court law clerks enjoy significant influence over their former justices. Our analysis of forty years of judicial votes reveals that an attorney who formerly clerked for a justice is 16 percent more likely to capture that justice’s vote than an otherwise identical attorney who never clerked. What is more, an attorney who formerly clerked for a justice is 14 to 16 percent more likely to capture that justice’s vote than an otherwise identical attorney who previously clerked for a different justice. Former clerk influence is substantial, targeted, and appears to come from clerks’ personalized information about their justices. These results answer an important empirical question about the role of attorneys while raising normative concerns over  fairness in litigation.

Sunday, September 27, 2020

Removing financial disincentives to living organ donation: HRSA publishes Final Rule

 The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), Health and Human Services Department (HHS) has published its Final Rule in the Federal Register

Removing Financial Disincentives to Living Organ Donation--A Rule by the Health and Human Services Department on 09/22/2020

"SUMMARY: This final rule amends the regulations implementing the National Organ Transplant Act of 1984, as amended (NOTA), to remove financial barriers to organ donation by expanding the scope of reimbursable expenses incurred by living organ donors to include lost wages, and child-care and elder-care expenses incurred by a caregiver. HHS is committed to reducing the number of individuals on the organ transplant waiting list by increasing the number of organs available for transplant. This final rule is associated with Section 8 of the Executive Order (E.O.) 13879 titled “Advancing American Kidney Health,” issued on July 10, 2019, which directed HHS to propose a regulation allowing living organ donors to be reimbursed for related lost wages, child-care expenses, and elder-care expenses through the Reimbursement of Travel and Subsistence Expenses Incurred toward Living Organ Donation program authorized under section 377 of the Public Health Service (PHS) Act, as amended."


"The National Living Donor Assistance Center (NLDAC) [4] operates the living organ donor reimbursement program funded by HRSA's Reimbursement of Travel and Subsistence Expenses Incurred toward Living Organ Donation grants program. Under the authority provided under section 377 of the PHS Act, as amended, the program is operated via cooperative agreement. The program's purpose is to help remove financial disincentives for living organ donations. In adherence to the authority outlined in the PHS Act, the program's Eligibility Guidelines currently provide that “qualifying expenses” include those incurred by the donor and his/her accompanying person(s) as part of: (1) Donor evaluation, (2) hospitalization for the living donor surgical procedure, and/or (3) medical or surgical follow-up, clinic visits, or hospitalization within two calendar years following the living donation procedure.


"Through this final rule, the Secretary determines that reimbursement for lost wages, and child-care and elder-care expenses incurred by a caregiver, is appropriate for living organ donors who incur such expenses toward their organ donation."


The final rule authorizes the National Living Donor Assistance Center (NLDAC) to expand the category of expenses that it can reimburse, for those who meet its income and other conditions.

I'm on NLDAC's Advisory Board, and at the present time I haven't heard that NLDAC's budget will be increased to fund the expanded expenses it is now permitted to reimburse.

Saturday, September 26, 2020

The unsharing economy: part time gig evicting people from their apartments has the story:

Gig Economy Company Launches Uber, But for Evicting People--A company called Civvl says evicting people is the "FASTEST GROWING MONEY MAKING GIG DUE TO COVID-19."  By Ashwin Rodrigues

"In its Craigslist ads, posted across the country, Civvl explains the opportunity plainly: "There is plenty of work due to the dismal economy."

"Unemployment is at a record high and many cannot or simply are not paying rent and mortgages," the ads state. "We are being contracted by frustrated property owners and banks to secure foreclosed residential properties."

Civvl aims to marry the gig economy with the devastation of a pandemic, complete with signature gig startup language like "be your own boss," and "flexible hours," and "looking for self-motivated individuals with positive attitudes:" "FASTEST GROWING MONEY MAKING GIG DUE TO COVID-19," its website says. "Literally thousands of process servers are needed in the coming months due courts being backed up in judgements that needs to be served to defendants."


"The company, at first glance, appears to be some kind of _Nathan For You-_esque prank: siccing precarious gig jobs onto vulnerable people. But Civvl is connected to a larger—and real—gig economy company called OnQall, which describes itself as an app that provides "on-demand task services to non-urban communities beyond main city areas." OnQall is the developer behind other, more believable TaskRabbit-esque apps, like LawnFixr, CleanQwik, and MoveQwik. Given the fact that Civvl is advertising all over the country and that OnQall, though not popular, does exist, it seems as though Civvl actually is an attempt to simplify the process of evicting people who cannot pay their rent during a pandemic.


"There is a federal ban on evictions, declared by the CDC, but landlords are still attempting to press on. There is a penalty for violating the ban, which can include a combination of fines and jail time. Civvl did not respond to a question about how the company ensures evictions are legal, though based on the Terms of Service, it appears to pass all risk onto the companies using its platform, stating that it simply "provides lead generation to independent contractors," and does not actually carry out the work itself.  

HT: Sandro Ambuehl

Friday, September 25, 2020

The WHO proposal for allocating scarce vaccines: thinking of healthcare while dealing with politics by discussing ethics

From the Guardian:

'Landmark moment': 156 countries agree to Covid vaccine allocation deal--Covax plan will counter rising threat of ‘vaccine nationalism’, prioritising vulnerable healthcare systems and frontline workers  by Peter Beaumont

"A coalition of 156 countries has agreed a “landmark” deal to enable the rapid and equitable global distribution of any new coronavirus vaccines to 3% of participating countries’ populations, to protect vulnerable healthcare systems, frontline health workers and those in social care settings.

"The Covid-19 vaccine allocation plan – co-led by the World Health Organization and known as Covax – has been set up to ensure that the research, purchase and distribution of any new vaccine is shared equally between the world’s richest countries and those in the developing world.

"Sixty-four higher income economies have already joined Covax, which includes commitments from 35 economies as well as the European commission, which will procure doses on behalf of the 27 EU member states plus Norway and Iceland, with 38 more expected to join in the coming days.


"Recognising that the first useful vaccines to emerge may be in short supply, approved vaccines will initially be made available to a tightly targeted 3% of the population of participating countries, building over time to 20% of each country’s most vulnerable population.


"According to a document detailing the arrangement, under the scheme “all countries should gradually receive tranches [of vaccine] to cover each subset of their [initial] target groups … until they can cover 3% of the population”.

The document continues: “At this point of the pandemic, a reasonable scenario would be that, while the supply of Covid-19 vaccines remains very scarce, countries should focus initially on reducing mortality and protecting the health system.

“This … would enable, for example, the vaccination of frontline workers in health and social care settings in most countries … Additional tranches will follow gradually as more supply becomes available.”


And this from the Washington Post:

World Health Organization unveils plan for distributing coronavirus vaccine, urges cooperation    By Emily Rauhala

"Under the plan, rich and poor countries pool money to provide manufacturers with volume guarantees for a slate of vaccine candidates. The idea is to discourage hoarding and focus on vaccinating high-risk people in every participating country first.

"So far, 64 higher-income countries have signed up, WHO officials said, but they added that 38 more are expected to do so in the coming days. Notably missing: Russia, China and the United States.

"China has not made an ann"ouncement either way. The White House said this month that the United States would not join, in part because the administration doesn’t want to work with the WHO, and will instead take a go-it-alone approach.


"The framework makes clear that each participating country can decide whom to vaccinate first, but it is based on the idea that doses for 3 percent of a country’s population could be used to vaccinate medical workers first and then other high-risk groups.


"“It seems like a compromise position,” said Thomas J. Bollyky, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and the director of its global health program. “It’s not exactly what you would do if you were driven strictly by public health.”

"In a policy report this month for the journal Science, critics offered an alternate framework called the Fair Priority Model, which is critical of the country-based approach"


Here's the Science article:

An ethical framework for global vaccine allocation, by Ezekiel J. Emanuel1, Govind Persad2, Adam Kern3, Allen Buchanan4, Cécile Fabre5, Daniel Halliday6, Joseph Heath7, Lisa Herzog8, R. J. Leland9, Ephrem T. Lemango10, Florencia Luna11, Matthew S. McCoy1, Ole F. Norheim12, Trygve Ottersen13, G. Owen Schaefer14, Kok-Chor Tan15, Christopher Heath Wellman16, Jonathan Wolff17, Henry S. Richardson18

"The Fair Priority Model is primarily addressed to three groups. One is the COVAX facility—led by Gavi, the World Health Organization (WHO), and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI)—which intends to purchase vaccines for fair distribution across countries (5). A second group is vaccine producers. Thankfully, many producers have publicly committed to a “broad and equitable” international distribution of vaccine (2). The last group is national governments, some of whom have also publicly committed to a fair distribution (1).


"The Fair Priority Model proceeds in three phases, preventing more urgent harms earlier (see the Table). Phase 1 aims at reducing premature deaths and other irreversible direct and indirect health impacts. Phase 2 continues to address enduring health harms but additionally aims at reducing serious economic and social deprivations such as the closure of nonessential businesses and schools. Restoring these activities will lower unemployment, reduce poverty, and improve health. Finally, phase 3 aims at reducing community transmission, which in turn reduces spread among countries and permits the restoration of prepandemic freedoms and economic and social activities."

Thursday, September 24, 2020

Unintended Consequences of Criminalizing Sex Work in East Java Indonesia, by Cameron, Seager, and Shah


Crimes Against Morality: Unintended Consequences of Criminalizing Sex Work

Lisa Cameron, Jennifer Seager, Manisha Shah

NBER Working Paper No. 27846 September 2020

 Abstract: We examine the impact of criminalizing sex work, exploiting an event in which local officials unexpectedly criminalized sex work in one district in East Java, Indonesia, but not in neighboring districts. We collect data from female sex workers and their clients before and after the change. We find that criminalization increases sexually transmitted infections among female sex workers by 58 percent, measured by biological tests. This is driven by decreased condom access and use. We also find evidence that criminalization decreases earnings among women who left sex work due to criminalization, and decreases their ability to meet their children's school expenses while increasing the likelihood that children begin working to supplement household income. While criminalization has the potential to improve population STI outcomes if the market shrinks permanently, we show that five years post-criminalization the market has rebounded and the probability of STI transmission within the general population is likely to have increased.

"Sex work is not directly addressed in Indonesian national law. As a result, sex work is widespread and largely tolerated throughout Indonesia, including East Java. However, a section of law titled “Crimes Against Morals” can be read to apply to sex work and has been used by local officials in some areas to close down sex worksites. On July 11, 2014, the Malang District government announced that on November 28, 2014, it would close all formal sex worksites within the district as a “birthday present” to Malang (Sukarelawati, 2014). The closures aligned with anniversary celebrations in Malang District and had religious overtones, being justified on the basis of sex work being banned by all religions (, 2014).

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Pandemic disruptions in the market for medical residents

 The coronavirus pandemic and associated lockdowns and limitations have stressed a number of labor markets, including the one for new physicians.  Here's an article from the Journal of Surgical Education that suggests that, in a world of online interviewing, the number of interviews might usefully be capped. They also recommend signalling...

The Case for Capping Residency Interviews

Helen Kang Morgan, MD,*,1 Abigail F. Winkel, MD,† Taylor Standiford, BS,‡ Rodrigo Muñoz, MD,§ Eric A. Strand, MD,║ David A. Marzano, MD,* Tony Ogburn, MD,¶ Carol A. Major, MD,# Susan Cox, MD,⁎⁎ and Maya M. Hammoud, MD, MBA

J Surg Educ. 2020 Sep 14, doi: 10.1016/j.jsurg.2020.08.033 [Epub ahead of print] PMCID: PMC7489264

"As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, residency programs will make an abrupt shift to virtual interviews in the 2021 residency application cycle.1 ... Medical students, medical schools, and residency programs have needed to react to sudden developments such as cancelled clinical electives, delayed or cancelled United States Medical Licensing Exams (USMLE),2 significant limitations on visiting student elective and sub-internship rotations,3 and changes in Electronic Residency Application Service (ERAS) timelines.4 Given this context, applicants may opt to increase their total number of residency applications as well as interviews accepted and completed, especially since they will no longer be limited by travel and cost deterrents.5, 6, 7 Likewise, residency programs are no longer logistically restrained to configure an applicant's interview schedule on a single day, and will have the ability to schedule interviews throughout multiple days and during non-business hours. In-person interactions provided by traditional interview day experiences have historically weighed heavily in determining mutual compatibility8 , 9; thus, both stakeholder groups will be looking to raise their chances of finding a match, including potentially increasing the number of interviews.

This is particularly troublesome given the current state of residency application processes, "fraught with misaligned stakeholder incentives.10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15 Although the ratio of positions per applicant is higher now than ever before, the number of applications per applicant have risen.16 , 17 These numbers have increased rapidly in certain specialties, with the mean number of applications per applicant in obstetrics and gynecology (OBGYN) rising from 28 in 2010 to 66 in 2019.18 The consequences of application inflation are numerous and include decreased abilities for residency programs to perform holistic review of applicants with increased reliance on metrics such as USMLE scores. Residency programs also need to devote significant faculty and administrative time for the interview processes.19 The consequence of application inflation that will be of crucial importance this application cycle is the growing awareness that a small percentage of applicants has been receiving a disproportionate percentage of interview offers.20 , 21 In the era of virtual interviews, if these applicants choose to schedule all of their interview offers, there is a real potential for detrimental downstream effects to other applicants. This may also lead to a greater number of unfilled residency spots, with a larger number of programs and applicants required to enter into the Supplemental Offer and Acceptance Program. Given the paucity of data to inform best practices, there is a pressing need to model the potential effects of current application processes and applicant strategies in this disrupted application cycle."
"All stakeholders urgently need equitable solutions that address both individual and systems-level problems for this coming application cycle and beyond.30 Capping the number of interviews that an applicant can schedule could remedy 1 pressing flaw in current application interview processes. Implementing caps at the interview scheduling stage is preferable to capping at the application stage given the multiple complexities that must be considered such as DO and IMG status, and overall competitiveness. In addition, exceptions may need to be made for individuals participating in the Couples Match. The potential legal implications of mandatory interview caps are in the infancy of exploration. Capping interviews would likely not violate anti-trust laws given that applicants would still have the choice of where they would like to interview, however these issues would need to be further investigated. New measures such as preference signaling mechanisms30, 31, 32 need to be urgently considered in order for programs to be able to prioritize whom to offer interviews. The use of “tokens” would enable applicants to be able to convey interest to a set number of programs; this has been well-described in graduate PhD economics education literature.33 It will be imperative for “fit” to not become a proxy for decisions guided by unconscious bias,34 but instead, for principles of equity and inclusion to guide change during this time of accelerated change."

HT: Marc Melcher

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Filtering 'inappropriate' content is still a challenge for AI--human monitoring of YouTube

The Financial Times has the story:

YouTube reverts to human moderators in fight against misinformation--Video platform relied on machines after lockdown but found they over-censored borderline content

by Alex Barker and Hannah Murphy 

"Google’s YouTube has reverted to using more human moderators to vet harmful content after the machines it relied on during lockdown proved to be overzealous censors of its video platform.

"When some of YouTube’s 10,000-strong team filtering content were “put offline” by the pandemic, YouTube gave its machine systems greater autonomy to stop users seeing hate speech, violence or other forms of harmful content or misinformation.

"But Neal Mohan, YouTube’s chief product officer, told the Financial Times that one of the results of reducing human oversight was a jump in the number of videos removed, including a significant proportion that broke no rules." 


Wired Magazine has a good backgrounder on the AI attempt to alter the recommender engine:

YouTube’s Plot to Silence Conspiracy Theories--From flat-earthers to QAnon to Covid quackery, the video giant is awash in misinformation. Can AI keep the lunatic fringe from going viral?

by Clive Thompson

Monday, September 21, 2020

Auctions and Market Design Friday Seminar Series, organized by INFORMS (starting Oct 2)

 The auctions and market design section of INFORMS (the Operations Research and Management Science organization) is initiating a new seminar series,  every other week on Fridays, starting Oct 2.  I'll start the series off with a talk on contemporary kidney exchange, and there are talks scheduled through December, see below.

Auctions and Market Design Online Seminar Series

About the Seminar

The aim of this interdisciplinary seminar is to discuss pioneering and impactful work in the broad area of market design. Theoretical, computational, and experimental work as well as field studies will be featured. A wide range of applications, ranging from online advertising and labor markets to networks and platforms, will be presented. The seminar features research talks and expository talks to highlight trends in the field.


The seminar is organized by Ozan Candogan (Chicago Booth)Vahideh Manshadi (Yale), and Fanyin Zheng (Columbia).

The seminar will be bi-weekly on Fridays at 1-2 pm ET (10-11 am PT).

Email List

If this seminar interests you and you would like to be notified of upcoming speakers, you can join our email list.


October 02 - Alvin Roth (Stanford University)

Title: Kidney Exchange: an Operations Perspective

October 16 - John Birge (University of Chicago)

Title: Increasing Efficiency in Electricity Market Auctions

October 30 - Jon Kleinberg (Cornell University)

November 13 - Winners of the Michael H. Rothkopf Junior Researcher Paper Prize

December 04 - Asuman Ozdaglar (MIT)

December 18 - Matthew Jackson (Stanford University)

Sunday, September 20, 2020

Deaccessioning art in the time of corona virus--

 Art museums have long frowned on selling art from their collections, and have been frowned upon when they do so. (It used to be not ok to sell art, except to buy different art, but not e.g. to fix the roof over the art...).  That's changing, "temporarily," in response to the financial crisis museums are facing during the coronavirus pandemic.  (It will be interesting to see if the old repugnance prohibitions can be restored later...)

Here's an April story from the Washington Post:

This is how bad things are for museums: They now have a green light to sell off their art

By Sebastian Smee

"To counter the constant temptation to regard art works as a way to get quick cash, the museum world heavily polices the sale of works from permanent collections — otherwise known as deaccessioning. The powerful Association of Art Museum Directors, made up of directors of museums in the United States, Mexico and Canada, has long frowned on any museum that sells off art for purposes other than acquiring new art.

"AAMD’s frowns have an effect. Museums that dare to ignore its guidelines — as the Berkshire Museum in Pittsfield, Mass., did in 2018, ultimately selling more than 20 works from its collection to raise money for a renovation — are censured, sanctioned and publicly shamed. For a renegade — or perhaps simply desperate — museum director, a decision to sell works from the collection, even if it’s to raise money deemed necessary for survival, might mean career death.

"However, in an unprecedented move, and as a direct result of the coronavirus pandemic, the AAMD has recently relaxed its guidelines. It’s too soon to gauge the effect, but it is already big news in the art world. Once unthinkable, the notion of selling off a Claude Monet or two to plug a budgetary hole — or to fend off a total financial meltdown — is suddenly something to contemplate.

"According to AAMD, museums may now “use the proceeds from deaccessioned works of art … to support the direct care” of their collection.


"AAMD says it recognizes “the extensive negative effects of the current crisis on the operations and balance sheets of many art museums.” It acknowledges, too, the impossibility of knowing when revenue streams might return to normal.

"The new guidelines are temporary, and are “not intended to incentivize … the sale of art.” But their effect may do just that."


And, sure enough...:Here's the NY Times

Brooklyn Museum to Sell 12 Works as Pandemic Changes the Rules

Museums selling their art has long been frowned upon, but recent financial pressures have sent works to the auction block at Christie’s. The proceeds would pay for the care of the collection.

By Robin Pogrebin, Sept. 16, 2020

Saturday, September 19, 2020

Virtual conference on Zero/Minimal Intelligence Agents, October 22 – 24, 2020

 A remarkable 1993 JPE paper by Gode and Sunder showed that random bids and offers constrained only not to be money losing could converge in a sense to competitive equilibrium in double auction markets:

Allocative efficiency of markets with zero-intelligence traders: Market as a partial substitute for individual rationality

DK GodeS Sunder - Journal of political economy, 1993 -
We report market experiments in which human traders are replaced by" zero-intelligence" programs that submit random bids and offers. Imposing a budget constraint (ie, not permitting traders to sell below their costs or buy above their values) is sufficient to raise the allocative efficiency of these auctions close to 100 percent. Allocative efficiency of a double auction derives largely from its structure, independent of traders' motivation, intelligence, or
learning. Adam Smith's invisible hand may be more powerful than some may have thought; it can generate aggregate rationality not only from individual rationality but also from individual irrationality.

In October, there's a conference following up on the idea that some market institutions may have desirable properties that don't depend on the rationality of the agents.

The First Conference on Zero/Minimal Intelligence Agents October 22 – 24, 2020

"Zero-intelligence (ZI) and Minimal-intelligence (MI) agents have provided valuable insights into how rules of engagement and institutional structures affect outcomes. This virtual conference is for sharing insights, findings, theories, applications, and tools regarding ZI and MI agents..."  


(Revised September 3, 2020)


Session 1: Zeroing in on zero-intelligence: Externalism, automaticity and opaqueness

(October 22, 2020, 9:00-10:30 EDT New York, USA)

Moderator: Dave Cliff

a. Enrico Petracca: Zero-intelligence in ‘externalist’ new institutional economics

b. Shaun Gallagher: Zero-intelligence and human automaticity at two extremes

c. Antonio Mastrogiorgio: Opaqueness as a mark of minimal-intelligence

Session 2: Trading with Zero/Minimal Intelligence

(October 22, 2020, 11:00-12:30 EDT New York, USA)

Moderator: Daniel Ladley

a. Dave Cliff: Extending Zero and Minimal Intelligence Trader Agents to Exhibit Size-Impact


b. Barbara Ikica, Simon Jantschgi, Heinrich H. Nax, Diego G. Nuñez Duran, Bary S. R. Pradelski:

Trading in a Black Box: Zero Intelligence and Lack of Knowledge

c. Fan Gao and Daniel Ladley: Endogenous network in OTC markets

Session 3: Panel Discussion on Structural Rationality

(October 22, 2020, 13:00-15:00 EDT New York, USA):

Moderator: Shyam Sunder

Robert Axtell, Gerd Gigerenzer, Doyne Farmer, Charles R. Plott,

Larry Samuelson


Session 4: Agent-based Computational Economics and ZI/MI

Agents (October 23, 2020, 9:00-10:30 EDT New York, USA)

Moderator: Friederike Wall

a. Shu-Heng Chen: Less is More: Minimal Intelligence in the History of Cognitive Science

b. Stephan Leitner and Friederike Wall: Micro- and Macro-Dynamics in Hidden-Action

Relationships with Limited Information

c. Friederike Wall: Hill-Climbers or Satisficers? On the Intelligence of Managerial Search in

Agent-based Models

Session 5: Uncertainty and Experiments

(October 23, 2020, 11:00-12:30 EDT New York, USA)

Moderator: Heinrich H. Nax

a. Barbara Ikica, Peiran Jiao, Aidas Masiliūnas, and Heinrich Nax: From Skinner Box

experiments to Black Box games: radical behaviorism for experimental game theory

b. Michael Maier, Karim Jamal, and Shyam Sunder: Aggregation of Diverse Information with

Double Auction Trading among Minimally-Intelligent Algorithmic Agents

c. Deborah Olukan, Jonathan Ward, Nicolas Malleson and Jiaqi Ge: Agent-Based

Computational Economics: Heterogeneous Expectation Formation

Session 6: Algorithms and Markets

(October 23, 2020, 13:00-14:30 EDT New York, USA)

Moderator: Aleksandra Aloric

a. Edgardo Bucciarelli, Andrea Oliva: Notes on algorithmic research, aggregations in economic

theory, and the unilateralism of the induction principle

b. Dave Cliff, Methodological Mess-ups in Modelling Markets with Minimal-Intelligence


c. Robin Nicole, Aleksandra Alorić , and Peter Sollich: Fragmentation in trader preferences

among multiple markets: Market coexistence versus single market dominance


Session 7: Aggregation Theory and Evidence

(October 24, 2020, 9:00-10:30 EDT New York, USA)

Moderator: Dan Gode

a. Florian Artinger, Nikita Kozodoi and Julian Runge: Predicting Revenues with the Multiplier


b. Yuji Aruka, Yoshihiro Nakajima, and Naoki Mori: The Minimum Heterogeneous Agent

Configuration to Realize the Future Price Time Series Similar to Any Given Spot Price Time

Series in the AI Market Experiment

c. D. K. Gode: Does the Shape of Extramarginal Demand and Supply Matter?

Session 8: Dynamic Models and Beauty Contest

(October 24, 2020, 11:00-12:30 EDT New York, USA)

Moderator: Rosemarie Nagel

a. Kenneth Lomas and Dave Cliff: Exploring Narrative Economics: Integrating (Near-) ZeroIntelligence Trader-Agents with Opinion Dynamics Models

b. Jess Ben-Habib, John Duffy and Rosemarie Nagel, How to Protect against Zero Intelligence:

Idiosyncratic Signals in Beauty Contest Games

Session 9: Software Platforms for ZI/MI Simulations

(October 24, 2020, 13:00-14:30 EDT New York, USA)

Moderator: Shabnam Mousavi

a. Paul Brewer: Introduction and Overview of the Econ1.Net Robot Trading Laboratory:

b. Shabnam Mousavi and Shyam Sunder: Market Net Organization

Session 10: Properties of Market Institutions (Organized by Shabnam Mousavi, October 24,

2020, 15:00-16:30 EDT New York, USA)

Moderator: Elena Asprouhova

Friday, September 18, 2020

Market Design Working Group Meeting October 22-24, 2020

 The NBER market design conference in October now has a program:

Market Design Working Group Meeting October 22-24, 2020, via Zoom

Michael Ostrovsky and Parag A. Pathak, Organizers

Times are eastern daylight time

Thursday, October 22

12:00 pm

Susan Athey, Stanford University and NBER

Arthur Baker, Harvard University

Juan Camilo Castillo, University of Pennsylvania

Rachel Glennerster, DFID

Scott Duke Kominers, Harvard University

Michael Kremer, Harvard University and NBER

Jean Nahrae Lee, World Bank

Christopher Snyder, Dartmouth College and NBER

Alex Tabarrok, George Mason University

Brandon Tan, Harvard University

Accelerating a Covid-19 Vaccine

12:45 pm

Parag A. Pathak, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and NBER

Tayfun Sönmez, Boston College

M. Utku Ünver, Boston College

M. Bumin Yenmez, Boston College

Fair Allocation of Vaccines, Ventilators and Antiviral Treatments: Leaving No Ethical Value Behind in Health Care Rationing

1:30 pm

Open Discussions

2:00 pm

Xiang Han, Shanghai University of Finance and Economics

Onur Kesten, Carnegie Mellon University

M. Utku Ünver, Boston College

Blood Allocation with Replacement Donors

2:45 pm

Mohammad Akbarpour, Stanford University

Afshin Nikzad, University of Southern California

Michael A. Rees, University of Toledo Medical Center

Alvin E. Roth, Stanford University and NBER

Global Kidney Chains

3:30 pm

Open Discussions

4:00 pm


Friday, October 23

12:00 pm

Chiaki Moriguchi, Hitotsubashi University

Yusuke Narita, Yale University

Mari Tanaka, Hitotsubashi University

Meritocracy and Its Discontents: Long-Run Effects of Repeated School Admission Reforms

12:45 pm

Yan Chen, University of Michigan

Ming Jiang, Shanghai Jiao Tong University

Onur Kesten, Carnegie Mellon University

An Empirical Evaluation of Chinese College Admissions Reforms Through A Natural Experiment

1:30 pm

Open Discussions

2:00 pm

Adam Kapor, Princeton University and NBER

Mohit Karnani, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Christopher Neilson, Princeton University and NBER

Aftermarket Frictions and the Cost of Off-Platform Options in Centralized Assignment Mechanisms

2:45 pm

David Delacretaz, University of Oxford

Processing Reserves Simultaneously

3:30 pm

Open Discussions

4:00 pm


Saturday, October 24

12:00 pm

Federico Echenique, California Institute of Technology

Antonio Miralles, Universita' degli Studi di Messina

Jun Zhang, Nanjing Audit University

Constrained Pseudo-Market Equilibrium

12:45 pm

Marzena Rostek, University of Wisconsin- Madison

Ji Hee Yoon, University College London

Exchange Design and Efficiency

1:30 pm

Open Discussions

2:00 pm

Martin Bichler, Technical University of Munich

Maximilian Fichtl, Technical University of Munich

Stefan Heidekrüger, Technical University of Munich

Nils Kohring, Technical University of Munich

Paul Sutterer, Technical University of Munich

Learning to Bid: Computing Bayesian Nash Equilibrium Strategies in Auctions via Neural Pseudogradient Ascent

2:45 pm

Mohammad Akbarpour, Stanford University

Scott Duke Kominers, Harvard University

Shengwu Li, Harvard University

Paul Milgrom, Stanford University

Investment Incentives in Near-Optimal Mechanisms

3:30 pm

Open Discussions

4:00 pm


Thursday, September 17, 2020

Job matching under constraints by Kojima, Sun, and Yu in the September AER

 From the September AER, the latest in a distinguished string of papers initially motivated by aspects of the clearinghouse for new doctors in Japan:

Kojima, Fuhito, Ning Sun, and Ning Neil Yu. 2020. "Job Matching under Constraints." American Economic Review, 110 (9): 2935-47.  DOI: 10.1257/aer.20190780

Abstract: Studying job matching in a Kelso-Crawford framework, we consider arbitrary constraints imposed on sets of doctors that a hospital can hire. We characterize all constraints that preserve the substitutes condition (for all revenue functions that satisfy the substitutes condition), a critical condition on hospitals' revenue functions for well-behaved competitive equilibria. A constraint preserves the substitutes condition if and only if it is a "generalized interval constraint," which specifies the minimum and maximum numbers of hired doctors, forces some hires, and forbids others. Additionally, "generalized polyhedral constraints" are precisely those that preserve the substitutes condition for all "group separable" revenue functions.

Here's the first paragraph:

"Hiring entities often face various types of constraints. In the United States, firms that receive favorable treatments from governments often promise to hire at least a certain number of workers (Byrnes, Marvel, and Sridhar 1999): floor constraints. In Chinese cities, the household registration system distributes quotas to employers for transferring  employees’ registrations from other places (Chan and Zhang 1999): type-specific ceiling constraints on hiring nonlocals. In rural India, a health subcenter is often required to be staffed by exactly one male and one female (Kapoor 2011): type-specific constraints with exact quotas. These are restrictions on the set of employees that an employer is allowed to hire. Inspired by a classical framework for studying job markets (Kelso and Crawford 1982), this paper studies how all possible restrictions of this type impact the substitutes condition on revenue functions of the employers, a condition known to be critical for the existence and certain regularity properties of competitive equilibria (Kelso and Crawford 1982; Gul and Stacchetti 1999; Milgrom 2000; Hatfield et al. 2019; Kojima, Sun, and Yu 2020a)"

and, from the Conclusions section:

"In a classical paper on the difficulty for rural hospitals in filling all of their positions in the National Resident Matching Program, Roth (1986) concludes that “this maldistribution seems unlikely to be changed by any system that does not involve some element of compulsion, or some change in the relative numbers of available positions and eligible students.” Our analysis suggests that in job matching with adjustable salaries, a compulsion in the form of floor or ceiling constraints may be a possible solution: one of the appealing properties of such a policy is that it preserves the substitutes condition and thus the existence of competitive equilibria under standard assumptions (Kojima, Sun, and Yu 2020a)."

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

On allocating scarce vaccines

 From the NBER working papers this week:

Do Black and Indigenous Communities Receive their Fair Share of Vaccines Under the 2018 CDC Guidelines?

Parag A. Pathak, Harald Schmidt, Adam Solomon, Edwin Song, Tayfun Sönmez, M. Utku Ünver

NBER Working Paper No. 27817   September 2020

Abstract: A major focus of debate about rationing guidelines for COVID-19 vaccines is whether and how to prioritize access for minority populations that have been particularly affected by the pandemic, and been the subject of historical and structural disadvantage, particularly Black and Indigenous individuals. We simulate the 2018 CDC Vaccine Allocation guidelines using data from the American Community Survey under different assumptions on total vaccine supply. Black and Indigenous individuals combined receive a higher share of vaccines compared to their population share for all assumptions on total vaccine supply. However, their vaccine share under the 2018 CDC guidelines is considerably lower than their share of COVID-19 deaths and age-adjusted deaths. We then simulate one method to incorporate disadvantage in vaccine allocation via a reserve system. In a reserve system, units are placed into categories and units reserved for a category give preferential treatment to individuals from that category. Using the Area Deprivation Index (ADI) as a proxy for disadvantage, we show that a 40% high-ADI reserve increases the number of vaccines allocated to Black or Indigenous individuals, with a share that approaches their COVID-19 death share when there are about 75 million units. Our findings illustrate that whether an allocation is equitable depends crucially on the benchmark and highlight the importance of considering the expected distribution of outcomes from implementing vaccine allocation guidelines.

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Covid has slowed transplants in the UK

The Evening Standard has the story:

Organ transplant waiting list jumps to five-year high due to pandemic, new NHS figures show

by Naomi Ackerman 

"The number people waiting for an organ transplant has soared to five-year high as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, new NHS figures have shown.

"NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) said this week that an estimated 6,700 people are currently in need of a transplant across the UK - up from 6,138 prior to the start of the pandemic.

"The health body has estimated that the increase in patients waiting - expected to be the highest since 2015-16 - comes after services were impacted by the effects of the pandemic.


"It is hoped that the waiting list can be shortened going forward following the introduction of a new law in May, making organ donation "opt-out" rather than an active choice.


"The law will see that families are still consulted before organ donation goes ahead - the reason is why health officials have implored people to make their wishes about donation known to their families.

"NHSBT has said that thousands of "transplant opportunities" have been missed in recent years. In 2018-19, it reported that 835 families declined to support organ donation - with many families saying they did not know what their relative would have wanted."


HT: Alex Chan

Monday, September 14, 2020

Economies in the Time of Coronavirus (in English and Chinese)

 Here's a short essay I wrote for the Luhohan Academy in June, published on their web site in July in English, and the Chinese translation in the Caixin online magazine.

Economies in the Time of Coronavirus

by Alvin E. Roth

Here's the first paragraph:

"Years from now we will look back on the Covid-19 pandemic as a source of much new information, not just about epidemic disease and how to manage it, but about structural features of the world’s economies that were made clearer by the crisis and how it was handled, both well and badly.  In the meantime, we can begin to speculate about what we will have learned when the pandemic is history, and what we must still learn to prepare for dealing with its continuation, and with future pandemics."


here's another paragraph:

"Testing policies will have to keep in mind what economists know well, which is that there may be perverse incentives in play. Some people will be very eager to return to work, and might be willing to do so even when they risk spreading infection. Others may be happy to work from home (especially if there is risk of infection at work) and may not wish to return to work even when they themselves do not pose a risk to others. And if those who have been infected and have recovered  (e.g. who test positive for antibodies) are treated differently than others, some people may feel a need to expose themselves to infection in order to enter this privileged class. So who conducts the tests, and how they are reported and recorded, will be important."

and here it begins in Chinese (but gated):


2020年07月17日 10:59

  文|阿尔文·罗思(Alvin E. Roth)


Sunday, September 13, 2020

A proposal for non-simultaneous kidney exchange in pairs and chains and with deceased donors...

 Here's an ambitious proposal, that may face  obstacles to implementation, but which provides some clarity about the inefficiencies of current practice.

Unpaired Kidney Exchange: Overcoming Double Coincidence of Wants without Money

Mohammad Akbarpour, Julien Combe, Yinghua He, Victor Hiller, Robert Shimer, Olivier Tercieux

NBER Working Paper No. 27765, September 2020, pdf

Abstract: For an incompatible patient-donor pair, kidney exchanges often forbid receipt-before-donation (the patient receives a kidney before the donor donates) and donation-before-receipt, causing a double-coincidence-of-wants problem. Our proposed algorithm, the Unpaired kidney exchange algorithm, uses “memory” as a medium of exchange to eliminate these timing constraints. In a dynamic matching model, we prove that Unpaired delivers a waiting time of patients close to optimal and substantially shorter than currently utilized state-of-the-art algorithms. Using a rich administrative dataset from France, we show that Unpaired achieves a match rate of 57 percent and an average waiting time of 440 days. The (infeasible) optimal algorithm is only slightly better (58 percent and 425 days); state-of-the-art algorithms deliver less than 34 percent and more than 695 days. We draw similar conclusions from the simulations of two large U.S. platforms. Lastly, we propose a range of solutions that can address the potential practical concerns of Unpaired.

Saturday, September 12, 2020

Politics and medicine, at Stanford and in Washington--an open letter from Stanford docs about corona virus policies

 Politics and medicine can combine poorly, particularly in a politicized pandemic.

Here's an open letter from over a hundred faculty at Stanford's Medical school, disowning the positions about pandemic policies taken by one of their former colleagues, now in Washington, by way of Fox News. (Here's the letter in full; to see the signatories click on the link...)

An Open Letter from Stanford Doctors [Update: the letter has been taken down from the Stanford medicine website, but here is another copy...]

"As infectious diseases physicians and researchers, microbiologists and immunologists, epidemiologists and health policy leaders, we stand united in efforts to develop and promote science-based solutions that advance human health and prevent suffering from the coronavirus pandemic. In this pursuit, we share a commitment to a basic principle derived from the Hippocratic Oath: Primum Non Nocere (First, Do No Harm).

"To prevent harm to the public’s health, we also have both a moral and an ethical responsibility to call attention to the falsehoods and misrepresentations of science recently fostered by Dr. Scott Atlas, a former Stanford Medical School colleague and current senior fellow at the Hoover Institute at Stanford University. Many of his opinions and statements run counter to established science and, by doing so, undermine public-health authorities and the credible science that guides effective public health policy. The preponderance of data, accrued from around the world, currently supports each of the following statements:

●  The use of face masks, social distancing, handwashing and hygiene have been shown to substantially reduce the spread of Covid-19. Crowded indoor spaces are settings that significantly increase the risk of community spread of SARS-CoV-2.

●  Transmission of SARS-CoV-2 frequently occurs from asymptomatic people, including children and young adults, to family members and others. Therefore, testing asymptomatic individuals, especially those with probable Covid-19 exposure is important to break the chain of ongoing transmission.

●  Children of all ages can be infected with SARS-CoV-2. While infection is less common in children than in adults, serious short-term and long-term consequences of Covid-19 are increasingly described in children and young people.

●  The pandemic will be controlled when a large proportion of a population has developed immunity (referred to as herd immunity) and that the safest path to herd immunity is through deployment of rigorously evaluated, effective vaccines that have been approved by regulatory agencies.

●  In contrast, encouraging herd immunity through unchecked community transmission is not a safe public health strategy. In fact, this approach would do the opposite, causing a significant increase in preventable cases, suffering and deaths, especially among vulnerable populations, such as older individuals and essential workers.

"Commitment to science-based decision-making is a fundamental obligation of public health policy. The rates of SARS-CoV-2 infection in the US, with consequent morbidity and mortality, are among the highest in the world. The policy response to this pandemic must reinforce the science, including that evidence-based prevention and the safe development, testing and delivery of efficacious therapies and preventive measures, including vaccines, represent the safest path forward. Failure to follow the science -- or deliberately misrepresenting the science – will lead to immense avoidable harm.

"We believe that social and economic activity can reopen safely, if we follow policies that are consistent with science. In fact, the countries that have reopened businesses and schools safely are those that have implemented the science-based strategies outlined above.

"As Stanford faculty with expertise in infectious diseases, epidemiology and health policy, our signatures support this statement with the hope that our voices affirm scientific, medical and public health approaches that promote the safety of our communities and nation."


Here's a recent NY Times story on Dr. Atlas, a radiologist:

A New Coronavirus Adviser Roils the White House With Unorthodox Ideas

Dr. Scott Atlas arrived at the White House as a coronavirus contrarian, questioning controls like masks. He has angered top health officials while pushing a suite of disputed policy prescriptions.

By Noah Weiland, Sheryl Gay Stolberg, Michael D. Shear and Jim Tankersley,  Sept. 2, 2020

"Before joining the task force, Dr. Atlas pitched his ideas as a health commentator on Fox News, which is in part how he attracted Mr. Trump’s attention. His arrival at the White House has coincided with less visible roles for Dr. Birx and Dr. Fauci, the director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases."


Of course, medicine isn't the only kind of science that has been caught up in Washington lately. (I write this from smoky California, where climate change seems quite real).

Nor is it the only part of medicine that has been caught up in politics around the world: I'm reminded of yesterday's post about the politics of global health care.  Science seems to be slowly gaining on politics there, and so I'm hopeful that's a general trend, although sometimes slow and uneven, with a high ratio of heat to light.

Friday, September 11, 2020

Global Kidney Exchange supported by the European Society of Transplantation's committee on Ethical, Legal, and Psychosocial Aspects of Transplantation .

Quite some time ago, the European Society for Organ Transplantation (ESOT) charged its committee on Ethical, Legal, and Psychosocial Aspects of Transplantation (ELPAT) with the task of evaluating those aspects of global kidney exchange (GKE). GKE had been greeted in some quarters with a number of dramatic accusations (e.g. that it was a form of organ trafficking), and the ELPAT committee tried to consider each of them.  Interestingly, the committee included members who I surmise started with a wide range of views, from cautious support to active hostility to GKE.

The final report, just published in Transplant International,  (which is the official journal of ESOT) is one that I think the committee can be proud of.  While you can tell that some committee members retain reservations about GKE, they nevertheless all agreed on a report that finds all of the principal objections raised against GKE to be unfounded.  Together with the even more clearly stated support for GKE in the Lancet, I think that this may mark a turning point: it certainly marks that GKE is receiving growing (and well deserved) support. 

Global Kidney Exchange: opportunity or exploitation? An ELPAT/ESOT appraisal
Frederike Ambagtsheer  Bernadette Haase‐Kromwijk  Frank J. M. F. Dor  Greg Moorlock  Franco Citterio  Thierry Berney  Emma K. Massey
Transplant International, September 2020, 33, 9, 989-998.       Here's the pdf

"Summary: This paper addresses ethical, legal, and psychosocial aspects of Global Kidney Exchange (GKE). Concerns have been raised that GKE violates the nonpayment principle, exploits donors in low‐ and middle‐income countries, and detracts from the aim of self‐sufficiency. We review the arguments for and against GKE. We argue that while some concerns about GKE are justified based on the available evidence, others are speculative and do not apply exclusively to GKE but to living donation more generally. We posit that concerns can be mitigated by implementing safeguards, by developing minimum quality criteria and by establishing an international committee that independently monitors and evaluates GKE’s procedures and outcomes. Several questions remain however that warrant further clarification. What are the experiences and views of recipients and donors participating in GKE? Who manages the escrow funds that have been put in place for donor and recipients? What procedures and safeguards have been put in place to prevent corruption of these funds? What are the inclusion criteria for participating GKE centers? GKE provides opportunity to promote access to donation and transplantation but can only be conducted with the appropriate safeguards. Patients’ and donors’ voices are missing in this debate." 

Here's their introduction:

"In 2017, Rees et al. [1] introduced “Global Kidney Exchange” (GKE), an international kidney exchange program that facilitates cross‐border exchanges between immunologically incompatible donor–recipient pairs in high‐income countries (HIC) and biologically compatible but financially impoverished donor–recipient pairs in low‐ to middle‐income countries (LMIC). GKE aims to overcome immunologic barriers in the developed world and poverty barriers in the developing world. The underlying rationale is that financial barriers prevent transplantation much more frequently than organ scarcity. The number of patients dying annually worldwide from end‐stage kidney disease due to inadequate financial resources far exceeds the number of patients in developed countries placed on kidney transplantation waitlists [1-3]. GKE has the potential to expand the genetic diversity of the donor pool which may help to transplant difficult‐to‐transplant, highly immunized patients [1]."

As they debunk the main arguments that have been made against GKE, I thought that some of these remarks were among the most interesting:

"Removing financial barriers to organ donation is an internationally agreed objective, enshrined, among others, in the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Guiding Principles on Human Cell, Tissue and Organ Transplantation and in the CoE Convention [13, 15]. These organizations highlight that prohibition of organ payments does not preclude reimbursing expenses incurred by the donor, including the costs of medical procedures [13, 17]. Given that countries’ legislation vary in their approach to what constitutes illicit payment versus legitimate reimbursement, it is doubtful whether GKE violates the nonpayment principle under all circumstances. For example, the University of Minnesota’s legal team vetted GKE and agreed to proceed. Other hospital legal teams have followed suit [1]."

"“[e]xploitation occurs when someone takes advantage of a vulnerability in another person for their own benefit, creating a disparity in the benefits gained by the two parties” [9]. It is hard to see, however, that this description of exploitation can be readily applied to GKE. Primarily, it is not clear that there is a significant disparity in benefits between recipients. Each patient receives a kidney transplant, and as Minerva et al point out, benefits are arguably greater for LMIC recipients, who get the additional benefit of their follow‐up care being paid for [33]. The same is true for the donors, who each obtain the desired benefit of their intended beneficiary receiving a transplant. Rather than there being a morally troubling disparity in benefit, GKE appears to offer either roughly equal benefit, or greater benefit for those who are allegedly exploited."
"It is also unconvincing to consider GKE exploitative on other grounds. Rather than failing to protect the vulnerable, it seems that GKE addresses specific vulnerabilities by offering protection to those who are (i) vulnerable to death from kidney failure or (ii) vulnerable to losing a loved one due to kidney failure. It is similarly unconvincing to suggest that GKE treats people merely as a means to an end. Instead, one can see that participants in LMIC are respected as individuals, with measures put in place to protect their welfare and to ensure that their participation is voluntary."
The claim that donors and recipients in LMIC are too poor or vulnerable to voluntarily engage in GKE is also debatable and could be seen as paternalistic. First of all, the risk that voluntariness is undermined does not apply specifically to GKE or to LMIC alone, but applies to living donation more generally [35].
"The proclamation that countries have to be self‐sufficient was first declared by the 2008 DoI and the WHO [73, 74] and has rapidly gained momentum since [75-77]. The argument to ban GKE because of the need to achieve self‐sufficiency raises various implications however. First of all, it implies that the need for countries to become self‐sufficient is more important than the lives that can be immediately saved through GKE. Is achievement of self‐sufficiency so important that it overrides life‐saving alternatives? Who has the authority to decide which approach should get priority? Why is it required that countries become self‐sufficient in organ donation and transplantation, while it is universally accepted for countries to rely on global exchanges of all other types of goods and services?
The ESOT/ELPAT committee apparently operated under rules that prevented them from investigating some claims that required evidence, so they included some questions for us in their paper, which we answer in the comment that appeared in the same issue of TI. (For example, there was some confusion about what escrow meant in connection with the money provided for the foreign donor and recipient's medical expenses after their return home...)

In any event, the large number of co-authors to our comment (21!) is another expression of the broad and international support that GKE is achieving.

Global Kidney Exchange Should Expand Wisely
Alvin E. Roth  Ignazio R. Marino  Obi Ekwenna  Ty B. Dunn  Siegfredo R. Paloyo  Miguel Tan  Ricardo Correa‐Rotter  Christian S. Kuhr  Christopher L. Marsh  Jorge Ortiz  Giuliano Testa  Puneet Sindhwani  Dorry L. Segev  Jeffrey Rogers  Jeffrey D. Punch  Rachel C. Forbes  Michael A. Zimmerman  Matthew J. Ellis  Aparna Rege  Laura Basagoitia  Kimberly D. Krawiec  Michael A. Rees 
Transplant International, September 2020, 33, 9,  985-988.   Here's a link to the pdf 

Here's the full first paragraph:

"We read with great interest and appreciation the careful consideration and analysis by Ambagtsheer et al. of the most critical ethical objections to Global Kidney Exchange (GKE). Ambagtsheer et al. conclude that implementation of GKE is a means to increase access to transplantation ethically and effectively.1,2 These conclusions by their European Society of Transplantation (ESOT) committee on Ethical, Legal and Psychological Aspects of Transplantation (ELPAT) represent a step forward toward a greater understanding and an open, honest debate about GKE. Taken together with the strong endorsement of GKE by Minerva et al. in Lancet  and the positive position statement of the American Society of Transplant Surgeons (ASTS), Ambagtsheer et al. successfully dispel previously raised doubts 5-13 to which we have previously responded .2,14-17"