Monday, October 31, 2022

Unraveling of the market for new law professors

 Kim Krawiec, a law professor who is among the most penetrating analysts of controversial markets and market practices, emails me about unraveling in the market for new law professors:

"prior to Covid, the AALS (American Association of Law Schools) ran a hiring process with a central meeting in Washington DC and nearly every law professor was hired through this process. During Covid, this of course stopped and has now been dropped (I think) permanently, so now schools are sort of making up their own schedules. Some schools are starting early and making exploding offers before other schools have even begun the process. The idea of exploding offers is not new — it happened before. Though some (mostly higher ranked schools) considered it bad form, other schools argued that they had to do it or would wind up hiring no one year after year as favored candidates accepted other jobs near the end of the season. But the physical meeting and control over the timing by the AALS at least posed a basic schedule. That now appears to be gone and people (both candidates and hiring committees) are up in arms. ... My guess (completely speculating) is that the interests of higher ranked and lower ranked schools are not aligned on this and that makes it harder to find a new equilibrium, but I don’t know."


Law already 'enjoys' a number of unraveled markets, for law clerks, for associates (and summer associates) in law firms, and for articles in law reviews.  So I have to admit the prospects for preventing wholesale unraveling of the law professor market looks bleak, unless law schools can start to think outside of the box, perhaps e.g. by preparing to give offers to students who have already accepted exploding offers, if necessary to start in the following academic year...  

Maybe in that way the academic law community can start to come to some agreement on some  time, midway between early and late, in which offers should be made and during which they should be left open.

Sunday, October 30, 2022

2022 Exeter Prize to Sandro Ambuehl, Douglas Bernheim, and Axel Ockenfels

 Here's an announcement in an email from the Economic Science Association (ESA):

"We are happy to announce the winners of the 2022 Exeter Prize for the best paper published in the previous calendar year in a peer-reviewed journal in the fields of Experimental Economics, Behavioural Economics and Decision Theory.

The winners are Sandro Ambuehl (University of Zurich), Douglas Bernheim (Stanford University), and Axel Ockenfels (University of Cologne) for their paper “What motivates paternalism? An experimental study”, published in The American Economic Review. 

There is a growing interest in how “choice architects” design choices for others.  This paper provides new insights about how and why people in the role of a choice architect limit the decisions of others.  Ambuehl, Bernheim and Ockenfels use the tools of experimental economics to study how subjects help other subjects (“choosers”) to be more patient in tempting intertemporal choices (in which a small, immediate outcome is pitted against a large, delayed outcome).  A key result is that choice architects do act to restrict the choice set of choosers to help them avoid temptation.  A key strength the paper is offering insight into the motivations behind this decision.  The paper proposes and tests two possible motivations:  1) A “mistakes-projective paternalism” in which the choice architect assumes others share his/her susceptibilities to temptations and uses choice sets to minimize temptations and 2) an “ideals-projective paternalism” in which the choice architect assumes others follow his/her values and limit the choice set to those valued outcomes.  The results provide clear evidence for the latter motivation.  The paper provides evidence about additional beliefs and motivations.  Choice architects believe that they are improving the welfare of choosers and they underestimate how many people they are affecting with their restrictions.  Finally, the behavior of choice architects in the laboratory predicts support for real-world paternalistic policies (regarding, for example, taxes on alcohol and tobacco) and the motivation to make choices harder is consistent with “ideals-projective paternalism.”

The winning paper was selected by the panel of Rick Larrick (Duke University), Muriel Niederle (Stanford University), and Tomasz Strzalecki (Harvard University)."


Saturday, October 29, 2022

The end of anonymous sperm donation...

 In  Colorado, a new law ending anonymous sperm donation seeks to catch up with the technological developments involving genetic sequencing that have already made anonymity of sperm or egg donors fairly fragile. Here's an account in JAMA:

The End of Anonymous Sperm Donation in Colorado--A Step Forward to a New Fertility Future in the US?  by I. Glenn Cohen, JD1; Eli Y. Adashi, MD, MS2; Seema Mohapatra, JD, MPH3   JAMA. Published online October 24, 2022. doi:10.1001/jama.2022.19471

"On May 31, 2022, Colorado became the first state to effectively ban anonymous gamete donation.1 Starting in 2025, fertility clinics in Colorado must collect identity and medical information from sperm and egg donors and may not match donors that do not agree to such disclosure (the statute uses the word “donor” though in many instances compensation is provided). The new law also requires that the clinics make a request that donors update their contact information and medical history at least once every 3 years. The law provides that a donor-conceived person aged 18 years or older shall be provided donor information upon request. The statute purports to also prohibit fertility clinics outside Colorado from providing gametes to Colorado residents (or individuals located in Colorado) if they do not abide by these rules. The statute also instructs clinics not to match a donor once it is known or reasonably should be known that “25 families have been established using a single donor in or outside of Colorado.”1


"Two states, Utah and Washington, have enacted statutes requiring the collecting and sharing of identifying information about a donor with donor-conceived children who request it after reaching the age of 18 years.3 However, both states also permit a donor to opt out, thereby limiting the utility of the laws. By contrast, the UK, Germany, Sweden, France, and many other countries have created mandatory registries that donor-conceived individuals can access when they turn 18 years of age, having an effect similar to the new Colorado law.3,4

"The new Colorado law highlights the gap between the law and reality of gamete donor anonymity in the US outside Colorado. Banks have promised donors anonymity in other US states and prior leaks of donor information from banks’ files have been exceedingly rare, if they ever happened at all; the banks have litigated to protect the identifying information provided by the donor.3 But in a practical sense, the promise of anonymity is now much less thoroughgoing.4 Direct-to-consumer genetic testing has become very common, and it has been estimated that 100 million people worldwide have taken a direct-to-consumer genetic test by 2021.4 Studies estimate that a genetic database covering only 2% of the population could match nearly anyone in that population.4 The combination of direct-to-consumer genetic testing, publicly available information, and social media suggest that many donor-conceived individuals will in fact be able to reidentify their gamete donor."

Friday, October 28, 2022

Surrogacy during wartime in Ukraine

 Surrogacy goes on amidst the war in Ukraine. The NYT has the story:

How Ukraine’s Surrogate Mothers Have Survived the War. When Russia invaded, Ukraine’s once-booming surrogacy industry seemed at risk of collapsing. But surrogate mothers and agencies have managed to continue deliveries, and clients are arriving again to pick up their children. By Maria Varenikova and Andrew E. Kramer

"Before Russia invaded in February, Ukraine was a major provider of surrogacy, one of the few countries that allows it for foreign clients. After a pause in the spring, surrogacy agencies are resuming their work, reviving an industry that many childless people rely on but that critics have called exploitative and that, in peacetime, was already ethically and logistically complex.


"Agencies are also adapting to the war. Besides helping surrogate mothers and their families relocate to safer cities, some have had to come up with ways to care for children as their biological parents struggled to overcome wartime and pandemic hurdles to reach Ukraine. Svitlana Burkovska, the owner of one small agency, Ferta, took infants into her own home for months.


"“We did not lose a single one,” said Ihor Pechenoha, the medical director at BioTexCom, Ukraine’s largest surrogacy agency and clinic. “We managed to bring all our surrogate mothers out from under occupation and shelling.”


"In the first month of the war, 19 babies born to surrogate mothers for one agency were marooned in a basement nursery in Kyiv. For weeks and months, it was difficult or impossible for biological parents to reach their children in Ukraine, but by August, all of the babies had gone home.

"The war has not diminished the appeal of surrogacy for couples desperate to have children, said Albert Tochylovsky, the director of BioTexCom.


"Before the war, the business thrived in Ukraine, where surrogate mothers typically earn about $20,000 per child they deliver. The war has made financial security even more urgent.

One 30-year-old surrogate mother, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because she had evacuated from Melitopol in Russia-occupied southern Ukraine and feared she could be targeted for reprisal, said she credited the job with getting her family out. “With the help of surrogacy,” she said, “I saved my family.”

"Owing to the nine-month lead time, agencies cannot make snap decisions about continuing or halting the business after developments like last week’s flurry of missile strikes, and pregnant mothers cannot be moved to jurisdictions outside Ukraine that do not recognize custody for biological parents in surrogate births.

Thursday, October 27, 2022

Helping government workers ask for organ donor registration, by House, Lacetera, Macis, and Mazar

 Market designers can operate at every level of detail. Here's an experiment on promoting organ donor registration:

Nudging the Nudger: A Field Experiment on the Effect of Performance Feedback to Service Agents on Increasing Organ Donor Registrations by Julian House, Nicola Lacetera, Mario Macis & Nina Mazar, NBER WORKING PAPER 30547, DOI 10.3386/w30547, October 2022

Abstract: We conducted a randomized controlled trial involving nearly 700 customer-service representatives (CSRs) in a Canadian government service agency to study whether providing CSRs with performance feedback with or without peer comparison affected their subsequent organ donor registration rates. Despite having no tie to remuneration or promotion, the provision of individual performance feedback three times over one year resulted in a 25% increase in daily signups, compared to otherwise similar encouragement and reminders. Adding benchmark information that compared CSRs performance to average and top peer performance did not further enhance this effect. Registrations increased more among CSRs whose performance was already above average, and there was no negative effect on lower-performing CSRs. A post-intervention survey showed that CSRs found the information included in the treatments helpful and encouraging. However, performance feedback without benchmark information increased perceived pressure to perform.

"We collaborated with ServiceOntario, an agency of the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services. The agency provides a single point of contact for most government services in the province (e.g., driver and vehicle licensing, license plate stickers, public health insurance registration, and business licensing). Most of the organ registrations in Ontario (pre-Covid-19 pandemic: 85%, Trillium Gift of Life Network, 2017) have occurred with customers visiting ServiceOntario centers in person.3 Because of their unique role, ServiceOntario customer-service representatives (CSRs) are ideally positioned to promote organ donor registrations when interacting with citizens. Indeed, operational policy instructs them to implement a prompted-choice procedure with all customers. "

Wednesday, October 26, 2022

Kidney exchange collaboration between Stanford and APKD

 I recently had occasion to review the long collaboration between my Stanford colleagues and Mike Rees and the Alliance for Paired Kidney Donation. It turns out that, together with other coauthors, Mike and his APKD colleagues have written well over a dozen papers with me and my colleagues at Stanford.  (My own collaboration with Mike and APKD goes back to when Itai Ashlagi and I were still in Boston, where my earliest papers on kidney exchange were with  Tayfun Sönmez and Utku Ünver, and with Frank Delmonico and his colleagues at the New England Program for Kidney Exchange.)

Here's the list I came up with, probably not exhaustive:

Mike Rees/APKD collaborations with Stanford scholars (Ashlagi, Melcher, Roth, Somaini)

 1. Rees, Michael A., Jonathan E. Kopke, Ronald P. Pelletier, Dorry L. Segev, Matthew E. Rutter, Alfredo J. Fabrega, Jeffrey Rogers, Oleh G. Pankewycz, Janet Hiller, Alvin E. Roth, Tuomas Sandholm, Utku Ünver, and Robert A. Montgomery, “A Non-Simultaneous Extended Altruistic Donor Chain,” New England Journal of Medicine, 360;11, March 12, 2009, 1096-1101.

2.     Ashlagi, Itai, Duncan S. Gilchrist, Alvin E. Roth, and Michael A. Rees, “Nonsimultaneous Chains and Dominos in Kidney Paired Donation – Revisited,” American Journal of Transplantation, 11, 5, May 2011, 984-994

3.     Ashlagi, Itai, Duncan S. Gilchrist, Alvin E. Roth, and Michael A. Rees, “NEAD Chains in Transplantation,” American Journal of Transplantation, December 2011; 11: 2780–2781.

4.     Wallis, C. Bradley, Kannan P. Samy, Alvin E. Roth, and Michael A. Rees, “Kidney Paired Donation,” Nephrology Dialysis Transplantation, July 2011, 26 (7): 2091-2099 (published online March 31, 2011; doi: 10.1093/ndt/gfr155,

5.     Rees, Michael A.,  Mark A. Schnitzler, Edward Zavala, James A. Cutler,  Alvin E. Roth, F. Dennis Irwin, Stephen W. Crawford,and Alan B.  Leichtman, “Call to Develop a Standard Acquisition Charge Model for Kidney Paired Donation,” American Journal of Transplantation, 2012, 12, 6 (June), 1392-1397. (published online 9 April 2012 )

6.     Anderson, Ross, Itai Ashlagi, David Gamarnik, Michael Rees, Alvin E. Roth, Tayfun Sönmez and M. Utku Ünver, " Kidney Exchange and the Alliance for Paired Donation: Operations Research Changes the Way Kidneys are Transplanted," Edelman Award Competition, Interfaces, 2015, 45(1), pp. 26–42.

7.     Fumo, D.E., V. Kapoor, L.J. Reece, S.M. Stepkowski,J.E. Kopke, S.E. Rees, C. Smith, A.E. Roth, A.B. Leichtman, M.A. Rees, “Improving matching strategies in kidney paired donation: the 7-year evolution of a web based virtual matching system,” American Journal of Transplantation, October 2015, 15(10), 2646-2654 (designated one of 10 “best of AJT 2015”)

8.     Melcher, Marc L., John P. Roberts, Alan B. Leichtman, Alvin E. Roth, and Michael A. Rees, “Utilization of Deceased Donor Kidneys to Initiate Living Donor Chains,” American Journal of Transplantation, 16, 5, May 2016, 1367–1370.

9.     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 and Siegfredo R. Paloyo, “Kidney Exchange to Overcome Financial Barriers to Kidney Transplantation,” American Journal of Transplantation, 17, 3, March 2017, 782–790.  

a.     M. A. Rees, S. R. Paloyo, A. E. Roth, K. D. Krawiec, O. Ekwenna, C. L. Marsh, A. J. Wenig, T. B. Dunn, “Global Kidney Exchange: Financially Incompatible Pairs Are Not Transplantable Compatible Pairs,” American Journal of Transplantation, 17, 10, October 2017, 2743–2744.

b.     A. E. Roth, K. D. Krawiec, S. Paloyo, O. Ekwenna, C. L. Marsh, A. J. Wenig, T. B. Dunn, and M. A. Rees, “People should not be banned from transplantation only because of their country of origin,” American Journal of Transplantation, 17, 10, October 2017, 2747-2748.

c.      Ignazio R. Marino, Alvin E. Roth, Michael A. Rees; Cataldo Doria, “Open dialogue between professionals with different opinions builds the best policy, American Journal of Transplantation, 17, 10, October 2017, 2749.

10.  Danielle Bozek, Ty B. Dunn, Christian S. Kuhr, Christopher L. Marsh, Jeffrey Rogers, Susan E. Rees, Laura Basagoitia, Robert J. Brunner, Alvin E. Roth, Obi Ekwenna, David E. Fumo, Kimberly D. Krawiec, Jonathan E. Kopke, Puneet Sindhwani, Jorge Ortiz, Miguel Tan, and Siegfredo R. Paloyo, Michael A. Rees, “The Complete Chain of the First Global Kidney Exchange Transplant and 3-yr Follow-up,” European Urology Focus, 4, 2, March 2018, 190-197.

11.  Itai Ashlagi, Adam Bingaman, Maximilien Burq, Vahideh Manshadi, David Gamarnik, Cathi Murphey, Alvin E. Roth,  Marc L. Melcher, Michael A. Rees, ”The effect of match-run frequencies on the number of transplants and waiting times in kidney exchange,” American Journal of Transplantation, 18, 5, May 2018,  1177-1186,

12.   Stepkowski, S. M., Mierzejewska, B., Fumo, D., Bekbolsynov, D., Khuder, S., Baum, C. E., Brunner, R. J., Kopke, J. E., Rees, S. E., Smith, C. E., Ashlagi, I., Roth, A. E., Rees, M. A., “The 6-year clinical outcomes for patients registered in a multiregional United States Kidney Paired Donation program- a retrospective study,” Transplant international 32: 839-853. 2019.

13.   Roth, Alvin E., 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, and Michael A. Rees, “Global Kidney Exchange Should Expand Wisely, Transplant International, September 2020, 33, 9,  985-988.

14.  Vivek B. Kute, Himanshu V. Patel, Pranjal R. Modi, Sayyad J. Rizvi, Pankaj R. Shah, Divyesh P Engineer, Subho Banerjee, Hari Shankar Meshram, Bina P. Butala, Manisha P. Modi, Shruti Gandhi, Ansy H. Patel, Vineet V. Mishra, Alvin E. Roth, Jonathan E. Kopke, Michael A. Rees, “Non-simultaneous kidney exchange cycles in resource-restricted countries without non-directed donation,” Transplant International,  Volume 34, Issue 4, April 2021,  669-680

15.   Afshin Nikzad, Mohammad Akbarpour, Michael A. Rees, and Alvin E. Roth “Global Kidney Chains,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, September 7, 2021 118 (36) e2106652118; .

16.    Alvin E. Roth, Ignazio R. Marino, Kimberly D. Krawiec, and Michael A. Rees, “Criminal, Legal, and Ethical Kidney Donation and Transplantation: A Conceptual Framework to Enable Innovation,” Transplant International  (2022), 35: doi: 10.3389/ti.2022.10551,

17.   Ignazio R. Marino, Alvin E. Roth, and Michael A. Rees, “Living Kidney Donor Transplantation and Global Kidney Exchange,” Experimental and Clinical Transplantation (2022), Suppl. 4, 5-9.

18.  Agarwal, Nikhil, Itai Ashlagi, Michael A. Rees, Paulo Somaini, and Daniel Waldinger. "Equilibrium allocations under alternative waitlist designs: Evidence from deceased donor kidneys." Econometrica 89, no. 1 (2021): 37-76.

And here’s a report of work in progress:

The First 52 Global Kidney Exchange Transplants: overcoming multiple barriers to transplantation by MA Rees, AE Roth , IR Marino, K Krawiec, A Agnihotri, S Rees, K Sweeney, S Paloyo, T Dunn, M Zimmerman, J Punch, R Sung, J Leventhal, A Alobaidli, F Aziz, E Mor, T Ashkenazi, I Ashlagi, M Ellis, A Rege, V Whittaker, R Forbes, C Marsh, C Kuhr, J Rogers, M Tan, L Basagoitia, R Correa-Rotter, S Anwar, F Citterio, J Romagnoli, and O Ekwenna.  TransplantationSeptember 2022 - Volume 106 - Issue 9S - p S469 doi: 10.1097/

Tuesday, October 25, 2022

Josh Morrison profiled in Vox

 Josh Morrison, the founder of WaitlistZero and 1DaySooner, is an unusually energetic and effective effective altruist.   

Here's a profile in Vox:

Josh Morrison took risks for science, and he thinks you can, too. From kidney donations to human challenge trials for Covid-19 vaccines, Josh Morrison shows the vast good any individual can do. By Muizz Akhtar

"Morrison first became familiar with this kind of direct public health participation when he read about kidney donations in the New Yorker when he was a law student in 2009. In the piece, people explained why they gave their kidneys to strangers in need — though there was slight risk to donors, the reward and benefit for the recipients was more than worth it. Two years later, he donated a kidney himself.


“The basic logic of my work in general is to try to use a sort of identity politics to get better political decision-making,” Morrison told me. “So with kidney donation, the theory is if kidney donors are more empowered in the political system as a sort of identity group, then the system will treat donors better and that will mean more people donate.”

HT: Frank McCormick


I've mentioned Josh Morrison in many of my posts...

Monday, October 24, 2022

Informationally Simple Incentives by Simon Gleyze and Agathe Pernoud

 Agathe Pernoud is on the Economics job market from Stanford this year, and is interested in the properties of information in environments in which agents may need to learn their own preferences.

Here are two papers that advance the theory of those situations, and expand on the fragility of 'dominant strategies' as the strategy space is enlarged.

Informationally Simple Incentives by Simon Gleyze and Agathe Pernoud, Journal of Political Economy, forthcoming.

Abstract: We consider a mechanism design setting in which agents can acquire costly information on their preferences as well as others’. A mechanism is informationally simple if agents have no incentive to learn about others’ preferences. This property is of interest for two reasons: First, it is a necessary condition for the existence of dominant strategy equilibria in the extended game.  Second, this endogenizes an “independent private value” property of the interim information structure. We show that, generically, a mechanism is informationally simple if and only if it satisfies a separability condition which rules out most economically meaningful mechanisms."

See also Agathe's job market paper:

How Competition Shapes Information in Auctions by Simon Gleyze and Agathe Pernoud

We consider auctions where buyers can acquire costly information about their valuations and those of others, and investigate how competition between buyers shapes their learning incentives. In equilibrium, buyers find it cost-efficient to acquire some information about their competitors so as to only learn their valuations when they have a fair chance of winning. We show that such learning incentives make competition between buyers less effective: losing buyers often fail to learn their valuations precisely and, as a result, compete less aggressively for the good. This depresses revenue, which remains bounded away from the expected second-highest valuation even when information costs are small. It also undermines price discovery. Finally, we examine the implications for auction design. First, setting an optimal reserve price is more valuable than attracting an extra buyer. Second, the seller can incentivize buyers to learn their valuations, hence restoring effective competition, by maintaining uncertainty over the set of auction participants.

Sunday, October 23, 2022

Reforming kidney care, by Drs. Ben Hippen and Thao Pascual.

 Ben Hippen is a transplant nephrologist who I encountered not too long after I started to think about kidney transplants. I've always found it enlightening to listen to him. And he's changed where he sits, most recently by taking a position with Fresenius, the big dialysis provider.

Here's a snippet of his professional history from his cv:

Current positions:

•Senior Vice President, Global Head of Transplant Medicine, Fresenius Medical Care. Sept 2021

•Clinical Professor of Internal Medicine, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill School of Medicine. (Non-tenure track appointment) April 2015-present.

Past Positions:

•General and Transplant Nephrologist, Metrolina Nephrology Associates, P.A, Charlotte, North Carolina. 2005-2021

•Attending General and Transplant Nephrologist, Transplant Center, Carolinas Medical Center, Charlotte, North Carolina. 2005 - 2021

•Medical Director, FKC Baxter Street Hemodialysis Unit (in-center and home therapies).2009-2021.

Here are some of his current thoughts, with his colleague Dr. Pascual, in Medpage Today on how to advance kidney care and transplantation.

The Kidney Transplant Ecosystem Is Ripe for Reform— Here are the policies and payment systems that need to change  by Benjamin Hippen, MD, and Thao Pascual, MD

"A centralized data repository of patients' clinical evaluations, laboratory, and radiologic testing accessible by multiple transplant centers could reduce the time, expense, and waste of redundant or obsolete testing.


"Quality outcomes for transplant programs should be pegged to the patient outcome that really matters: Receiving a successful kidney transplant in the shortest period of time. A recent survey of patients with kidney disease regarding tradeoffs between being transplanted earlier and waiting for a "better organ" confirms that a wide majority of patients prioritize being transplanted sooner. "Transplant soon and well" should be the mantra for regulators and policy makers when considering nephrologist and dialysis provider-facing metrics to achieve the right outcomes for patients. 


"several reforms can be made to the transplant ecosystem to make it easier for transplant centers to be more aggressive in their organ acceptance behaviors. Changing the organ offer system to use the approach of "simultaneously expiring offers" can streamline organ placement timelines, placing higher-risk organs with more risk-tolerant centers more quickly and efficiently. Aligned with the goal of getting patients to transplant faster, regulators and payors (public and private) should prioritize shortening time to transplant over sky-high 1-year patient and graft survival thresholds. The lowest performing third of transplant centers are conferring longer and better survival rates to patients compared to any maintenance dialysis therapy. We should seek to remove regulatory and financial barriers to transplant centers seeking to safely make use of every gift of life. If we expect transplant centers to transplant higher-risk organs, we should recognize that it may cost more to perform those transplants successfully. The payment system for transplants should account for these higher costs so that transplant centers are not faced with losing money when transplanting higher-risk organs.

"A key component of the kidney transplant ecosystem is the generosity of living donors, and we should do more to support their decision to give the gift of life. This means protecting living donors from insurer efforts to exclude them from life or disability insurance coverage because of their donation. In addition, enhancing education efforts to increase living donor kidney transplants can help bridge the gap between organ need and supply. One pending solution to these challenges is the passage of the Living Donor Protection Act (H.R.1255/S.377). The bill would prohibit discrimination by insurers based on an individual's status as a living organ donor. Employers can also do their part through adjusting their paid leave policies for employees who become living donors, by joining the AST Living Donor Circle of Excellence."

"Benjamin Hippen, MD, is senior vice president and head of transplant medicine and emerging capabilities at Fresenius Medical Care. Thao Pascual, MD, is associate chief medical officer at U.S. Renal Care. They are both members of Kidney Care Partners."


As a long time, thoughtful  observer of kidney care and transplantation, Dr Hippen's point of view has shifted over time. Below are some (much) earlier blog posts featuring some of his earlier thoughts.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Saturday, October 22, 2022

Privacy and data gathered by home devices

 Does your robot vacuum cleaner make a map of your house as it moves around, and store it on the web?  Could the fact that your kitchen chairs haven't moved all week allow someone to know that no one is home?  These are the kinds of things that people worry about when thinking of all the data collected by smart devices.

The Washington Post has this story:

Tour Amazon’s dream home, where every appliance is also a spy. Here’s everything Amazon learns about your family, your home and you.  by Geoffrey A. Fowler

"Echo speaker

"Echos respond to the wake word “Alexa” to summon the voice assistant to play music, answer questions, shop and control other devices.

"What it knows: Collects audio recordings through an always-on microphone; keeps voice IDs to differentiate users; detects coughs, barks, snores and other sounds; logs music and news consumption; logs smart-home device activity and temperature; detects presence of people though ultrasound.

"Ring doorbell

"What it knows: Live and recorded video, audio and photos of the outside of your house; when people come and go and you receive packages; status of linked devices like lights.


"Kindle or Fire Tablet

"What it knows: What and when you read and watch entertainment and news; when you open, close and how long you use third-party apps; your location.

"Why that matters: Amazon knows exactly how fast you read and how far you actually got through your last novel. Kindles and Fire Tablets are another way Amazon gets to know your tastes, which helps it sell you things.


"Roomba vacuum cleaner

"A vacuum cleaner that automatically roams around your house to clean, which Amazon is acquiring in a still-pending deal for $1.7 billion.

"What it knows: Camera identifies obstacles and layout of rooms and furniture; when, how often and where you clean.

"Why that matters: When the deal was announced, some Roomba owners balked at the idea that Amazon might gain access to maps of their home, created by the robots to help them clean. "

Friday, October 21, 2022

The past and future of the transition from medical school to residency, in the Journal of Graduate Medical Education, by Williamson, Soane, and Carmody

 The October issue of the Journal of Graduate Medical Education considers the past and future of the transition to residency.

The US Residency Match at 70: What Was, What Is, and What Could Be  by Edwin Williamson, MD; Caroline Soane, BA; J. Bryan Carmody, MD, MPH, J Grad Med Educ (2022) 14 (5): 519–521.,

"But while early offers are long gone, the residency selection process now faces a new set of challenges related to the increasing number of applications submitted by contemporary applicants. In 2020 the average US medical school graduate submitted 70 residency applications.9  The average for some specialties is even higher. For instance, in 2022, the average osteopathic medical school applicant in obstetrics and gynecology submitted 85 applications, while US MD applicants in orthopedic surgery submitted 96 applications, and international medical graduates submitted 100 applications each to internal medicine programs.10  This overapplication increases costs for applicants and programs, leads to reliance on convenient screening metrics in applicant evaluation, and does not ultimately improve Match rates.9 "

Thursday, October 20, 2022

School choice consulting in New York City

 It is a truth universally acknowledged that any stressful process in which affluent people participate must be in need of a consulting industry.

New York City's school choice processes are no exception:

The School-Admissions Whisperer Joyce Szuflita can assuage Brooklyn’s most anxious parents.  By Caitlin Moscatello

"For the better part of two decades, Szuflita has demystified the process of public-school admissions for some of Brooklyn’s most overwhelmed, optimization-prone parents. ... Prekindergarten and elementary admission are largely based on where you live. But the game gets significantly more byzantine come middle school and more complex yet for high school, with its tier of “screened” institutions that have traditionally required students to test in, audition, or undergo other high-stress assessments. The process of getting into certain schools — and don’t kid yourself, everybody wants in — has long been a brutal one. Until it got slightly easier. And then brutal again. Or maybe some middle level of brutal? This is why parents need Szuflita.


"On September 29, schools chancellor David C. Banks abruptly announced that some of the city’s most prestigious middle and high schools would move away from an open lottery system and increase their use of merit-based admissions. The approach prioritizes students with an A average — children Banks calls “hardworking,” a loaded description in a city with one of the greatest wealth disparities in the country — and reverses the previous mayor’s strategy, which aimed to usher more lower-income students into New York’s top schools.


“The pendulum is swinging back a little bit,” Szuflita says of the Banks announcement, insisting that the changes are not as sweeping as they might seem. “The algorithm is still exactly the same.” Contrary to how some have read the news, the old lottery is still partially in use. The random number (a hexadecimal, actually) that each student is assigned works as a tiebreaker to get into screened high schools and can sometimes be a major factor when families submit their ranked choices of preferred schools.

"Clients often panic about their lottery numbers and want to change the ranking of their list, which Szuflita doesn’t recommend for anyone except those with exceptionally high or low numbers. Trying to outsmart the process, she says, is pure “magical thinking.” She’s constantly telling parents to trust the fairness of the city’s sorting algorithm, whose authors literally won the Nobel Prize, and rank in true preference order. (Or, as she tends to put it in emails: “RANK IN TRUE PREFERENCE ORDER!!!!!!!”) Despite this, clients sometimes persist, asking, How do we work the algorithm to our advantage? How do we strategize ranking our list? “That’s when I yell at people in the nicest way,” she says, because they don’t know what they’re talking about and they’re cutting into her time. “Like, ‘No, shut up. Shut up and listen to me. You’re not going to get everything you need to know.’” But most of her consults take two hours, she says, and don’t involve a lot of back-and-forth. “They tell me about their children and then what follows is usually a rapid-fire, two-hour information dump from me. There is not a lot of airing of concerns, because I already anticipate their concerns.” The download is intensely specific, tailored to each family and covering individual schools, principals, teachers, and facility upgrades few people are aware of. She verifies rumors (or sets the record straight) and knows things you can’t find on the internet."


Related recent post:

Sunday, October 2, 2022

Wednesday, October 19, 2022

Market Design Job Market Candidate Profiles 2023, from ACM SIGecom Exchanges,

 Market designers come in multiple flavors: economics and computer science are prominently represented.

Market Design Job Market Candidate Profiles 2023

ACM SIGecom Exchanges, Vol. 20, No. 2, October 2022

Inspired by the SIGecom Exchanges’ annual survey of job market candidates,1 this is the third annual collection of profiles of the junior faculty job market candidates of the market design community. The eleven candidates are listed alphabetically. Along with information regarding the candidate’s bio, job market paper, other representative papers, and short research summary, each profile also contains links to the candidate’s homepage and CV.

–Yannai A. Gonczarowski, Assaf Romm, and Ran Shorrer

Contents (page number)

Altmann, Sam 2

Chan, Alex 2

Feng, Di 3

Ferdowsian, Andrew 3

Ferreira, Matheus V. X. 3

Kang, Zi Yang 4

Lee, Kwok-Hao 4

Pernoud, Agathe 5

Rudov, Kirill 5

Sandomirskiy, Fedor 6

Thomas, Clayton 6

Tuesday, October 18, 2022

My Morse Lecture at INFORMS 2022, tomorrow

 Tomorrow, Wednesday October19, from 8-9am Eastern time, I'll be giving the Morse Lecture at the INFORMS 2022 annual meeting in Indianapolis

Market Design: The Dialog Between Simple Abstract Models and Practical Implementation

I’ll review some of the elegantly simple models that underlie the initial designs for matching processes like the medical residency Match, school choice and kidney exchange, and the modifications, complications and  computations that were needed to get new designs adopted, implemented and maintained over the years.

You can read about the occasion of this lecture, my Philip McCord Morse Lectureship Award here.

Monday, October 17, 2022

Jacques Drèze (1929-2022)

Jacques Drèze, the eminent Belgian economist who was the founding director of the Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE) at UCLouvain has died.

Aside from his considerable professional contributions as a researcher, he was an institution builder.  CORE was a center of game theory when game theory was young, and played an important role in its development.

Here is the Econometric Society memorium: IN MEMORIAM: Jacques Drèze

"CORE and its prestigious visitors’ program, thanks initially to the support from the Ford foundation, was his initiative as well as the European Doctoral Program in Quantitative Economics(EDP)."

Sunday, October 16, 2022

Eliciting beliefs is a difficult task: Danz, Vesterlund and Wilson in the AER

 Experimental economists have long been faced with the difficulty of eliciting coherent beliefs from participants in experiments, even when they seem to act in a way consistent with having coherent beliefs.  This is consistent with the psychological view that beliefs in the full Bayesian sense may not closely correspond to people's internal psychological representation of the world. So techniques for belief elicitation that would work well for idealized utility maximizers may not be ideal for human subjects.

Here's a thoughtful effort to come to grips with that.

Belief Elicitation and Behavioral Incentive Compatibility  by David Danz, Lise Vesterlund, Alistair J. Wilson AMERICAN ECONOMIC REVIEW  VOL. 112, NO. 9, SEPTEMBER 2022  (pp. 2851-83)

Abstract: "Subjective beliefs are crucial for economic inference, yet behavior can challenge the elicitation. We propose that belief elicitation should be incentive compatible not only theoretically but also in a de facto behavioral sense. To demonstrate, we show that the binarized scoring rule, a state-of-the-art elicitation, violates two weak conditions for behavioral incentive compatibility: (i) within the elicitation, information on the incentives increases deviations from truthful reporting; and (ii) in a pure choice over the set of incentives, most deviate from the theorized maximizer. Moreover, we document that deviations are systematic and center-biased, and that the elicited beliefs substantially distort inference."

"We argue that to secure truthful revelation, elicitation mechanisms need to not only be incentive compatible in a purely theoretical sense, but also in a behavioral one. We propose for assessment two weak conditions for behavioral incentive compatibility, that information on deployed incentives increases truthful revelation; and that most participants, when given a choice over the pure incentives, select the outcome thought to be uniquely maximizing under the mechanism (i.e., a requirement of behavioral incentive compatibility for a representative agent).

"To demonstrate we explore a state-of-the-art belief elicitation, the binarized scoring rule (BSR) (Hossain and Okui 2013). The BSR is seen as a particularly promising alternative to elicitations requiring risk neutrality because its incentive compatibility expands to arbitrary EU preferences—in fact, to any decision-maker who maximizes the overall chance of winning a prize. Building on the insights of Roth and Malouf (1979), this is achieved by linking reported beliefs to a pair of state-contingent lotteries, where for each distinct belief, the mechanism provides a lottery pair with a stochastically dominant reduction. That is, decision-makers who maximize their chance of winning are given strict incentivizes under the BSR to reveal their true belief.

"In addition to being incentive compatible for a wider set of preferences, initial empirical evidence shows that the BSR outperforms its narrower forerunner, the quadratic scoring rule (Hossain and Okui 2013; Harrison and Phillips 2014). Weakened theoretical assumptions and evidence for superior relative performance has quickly rendered the BSR the preferred elicitation.3  However, limited evidence exists on whether subjects behave in a truth-telling manner, and the conservative reporting patterns that identified failures in quadratic-scoring elicitations have also been detected in BSR elicitations. For example, in Babcock et al. (2017), despite the qualitative comparative statics for beliefs mirroring behavior, the elicited reports appeared overly conservative."

...[and from the conclusion]

"In pursuing improved elicitations, we need to be cognizant that we are designing mechanisms for behavioral agents. In this respect, our findings and proposed tests for behavioral incentive compatibility relate to Li’s (2017) concepts of obvious dominance and obvious strategy proofness. Both our work and Li (2017) stress the importance of considering cognitive limitations (in addition to a broader set of preferences) when designing incentive compatible mechanisms. However, while Li (2017) provides a theoretical criterion of a mechanism’s incentive compatibility for a class of cognitively limited agents, our work stresses the importance of, and provides means to, testing whether a theoretically incentive compatible mechanism is behaviorally incentive compatible in an empirical sense. As in the BSR, relatively weak-seeming theoretical assumptions permit the design of fully separating mechanisms, to measure beliefs at arbitrary precision. But such precision may well be costly—where we need to empirically test that the assumptions put in place hold, and that behavioral agents actually perceive truthful revelation as beneficial.

"Our study has proposed weak conditions for behaviorally incentive compatible elicitations and provided diagnostic tools for checking them. The hope is that new elicitations will be assessed against and succeed in passing these standards. Given the challenges associated with this task though, we caution that it may be time to question whether it is reasonable to assume that participants in our studies hold exact probabilistic beliefs, let alone our ability to use monetary incentives to elicit such beliefs at arbitrary precision. Instead of taking our results as a call for the development of mechanisms that are incentive compatible for an ever-more-general class of decision-maker, we might instead ask whether the necessary economic inferences could be drawn with less-precise measurements, where the incentives for truthful reporting can be simpler and starker.63 For example, in discrete settings it may be sufficient to elicit the event the participants deem most likely and incentivize the elicitation by offering compensation only in the event that the report is correct.64 In continuous settings, the same can be achieved by paying participants if the true population outcome falls within some bounds around their guess.65 Alternatively, it may be sufficient to determine whether a belief lies within a certain fixed interval. This allows for deviations between the potential intervals to come at a higher perceived cost and may still provide the information necessary for inference.66 For example, suppose that in understanding individual behavior we wish to elicit the belief that an opponent will select action A or B, and that the individual’s predicted behavior theoretically depends on the belief on A exceeding a 30 percent cutoff. Rather than eliciting the precise belief that action A is chosen, it may secure more reliable and truthful reporting to instead focus the elicitation on whether or not the belief on A exceeds the theoretical cutoff. If elicited beliefs are collected primarily as controls or for auxiliary tests of a behavioral mechanic, inference may be improved with starker incentives over coarser elicitations.

"While there are many paths to improve belief elicitation, we propose two simple assessments: that information on the incentives increases truthful reporting, andt hat most participants when given a choice over the pure set of incentives select the theorized maximizer. In demonstrating the very substantial inferential consequences from using biased elicitations, our results serve as a call for elicitations to be incentive compatible both theoretically and behaviorally, but also as a strong caution against elicitations that rely on incentives that decrease truthful reporting."


One quick thought I have is that when binary lottery games were introduced in Roth, A. E., & Malouf, M. W. (1979), it was to allow the predictions of utility maximizing theories to be precisely specified, rather than to control the behavior of the experimental subjects.


Not so long ago I posted about another paper in the AER that deals with simple and robust ways of eliciting beliefs about others' behavior.

Tuesday, March 1, 2022

"Mechanisms designed to elicit truthful reporting in the laboratory sometimes are cumbersome to administer and difficult to explain.  Here's a paper that finds that simple attempts to incentivize truthful reporting (including allowing other participants to hear each report, as well as small payments for reports that conform to community consensus) can help eliminate incentives to boost family and friends, when reports concern who could make most effective use of a cash grant."

Saturday, October 15, 2022

Kidney exchange in The Times of India

 The Times of India covers my talk at the Indian Society of Transplantation meeting:

Alvin Roth for legal boost to kidney exchange pool in India by Chaitanya Deshpande, Oct 15, 2022c

 The site makes it hard to extract text, but here's a photo of some comments, which make me hope that some action may be taken:


Friday, October 14, 2022

Scientific honors and gender gaps

 Changing from an old equilibrium to a new one can involve some actions that may not persist once a new equilibrium is reached.  Here's a paper on the awarding of scientific honors.

Gender Gaps at the Academies by David Card, Stefano DellaVigna, Patricia Funk & Nagore Iriberri

NBER WORKING PAPER 30510  DOI 10.3386/w30510  September 2022

"Historically, a large majority of the newly elected members of the National Academy of Science (NAS) and the American Academy of Arts and Science (AAAS) were men. Within the past two decades, however, that situation has changed, and in the last 3 years women made up about 40 percent of the new members in both academies. We build lists of active scholars from publications in the top journals in three fields – Psychology, Mathematics and Economics – and develop a series of models to compare changes in the probability of selection of women as members of the NAS and AAAS from the 1960s to today, controlling for publications and citations. In the early years of our sample, women were less likely to be selected as members than men with similar records. By the 1990s, the selection process at both academies was approximately gender-neutral, conditional on publications and citations. In the past 20 years, however, a positive preference for female members has emerged and strengthened in all three fields. Currently, women are 3-15 times more likely to be selected as members of the AAAS and NAS than men with similar publication and citation records."


That paper is a followup to their previous paper on Econometric Society Fellows, which has just come out in the current issue of Econometrica:


Gender Differences in Peer Recognition by Economists
p. 1937-1971

David Card, Stefano DellaVigna, Patricia Funk, Nagore Iriberri

We study the selection of Fellows of the Econometric Society, using a new data set of publications and citations for over 40,000 actively publishing economists since the early 1900s. Conditional on achievement, we document a large negative gap in the probability that women were selected as Fellows in the 1933–1979 period. This gap became positive (though not statistically significant) from 1980 to 2010, and in the past decade has become large and highly significant, with over a 100% increase in the probability of selection for female authors relative to males with similar publications and citations. The positive boost affects highly qualified female candidates (in the top 10% of authors) with no effect for the bottom 90%. Using nomination data for the past 30 years, we find a key proximate role for the Society's Nominating Committee in this shift. Since 2012, the Committee has had an explicit mandate to nominate highly qualified women, and its nominees enjoy above‐average election success (controlling for achievement). Looking beyond gender, we document similar shifts in the premium for geographic diversity: in the mid‐2000s, both the Fellows and the Nominating Committee became significantly more likely to nominate and elect candidates from outside the United States. Finally, we examine gender gaps in several other major awards for U.S. economists. We show that the gaps in the probability of selection of new fellows of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Sciences closely parallel those of the Econometric Society, with historically negative penalties for women turning to positive premiums in recent years.


Update: here's the published version of the NBER paper, in PNAS, JANUARY 24, 2023, VOL. 120, NO. 4:

Gender gaps at the academies

David Card, Stefano DellaVigna, Patricia Funk, and Nagore Iriberri

This contribution is part of the special series of Inaugural Articles by members of the National Academy of Sciences elected in 2021. January 19, 2023 120 (4) e2212421120

Thursday, October 13, 2022

The Dr H.L. Trivedi Oration at the Indian Society of Transplantation (ISOT) Meeting 2022

Here's the meeting announcement:


32nd Annual Conference of The Indian Society of Organ Transplantation
2nd Mid-term Meeting of Liver Transplantation Society of India
15th Annual International Conference of NATCO
Dates : 12th - 16th October 2022 | Venue : Hotel Le Meridien, Nagpur

My talk, the Dr H.L. Trivedi Oration   is scheduled for 11:00am on Friday the 14th in Nagpur, which means I'll be giving it by zoom tonight, Thursday evening at 10:30 pm Pacific Time.

The presentation, which  will be about "Increasing the availability of transplants in India" is in honor of the late Dr. Hargovind Laxmishanker "H. L." Trivedi (August 1932 – October 2019), who I had the privilege of meeting,

Here's his obituary : 
Kute, Vivek, Himanshu Patel, Pankaj Shah, Pranjal Modi, and Vineet Mishra. "Professor Dr. HL Trivedi pioneering nephrologist and patriot who cared for his country (31-08-1932 TO 2-10-2019)." Indian Journal of Nephrology 29, no. 6 (2019): 379.
Here's my concluding slide:

  • India has enormous talent and accomplishment in living-donor transplantation
  • To more nearly reach it’s potential, India needs to invest in recovering deceased donor organs.
  • In the near term, it can build on it’s accomplishments in kidney transplantation, by 
    • establishing national (not just regional) kidney exchange
    • Continuing to explore international exchange for the hardest to match pairs
    • Reducing restrictions on who can be an exchange donor
    • Allowing non-directed donors and chains
    • Allowing some chains to begin with a deceased-donor kidney
    • Reducing financial barriers by increased investment in public hospitals and government health insurance, for organ donors as well as recipients

Wednesday, October 12, 2022

Attack on Sharif University in Iran: an open letter

 I'm among the signers of yet another open letter protesting events in Iran, this one against violent attacks on peaceful protesters in Iranian universities, related in turn to official violence against women. (click to see all the signers...):

Statement in Condemnation of the Attacks on University Students in Iran

"The recent events surrounding the death of Mahsa Amini in police custody on September 16, 2022, have pained and astounded many Iranians within Iran and abroad, including many students and academics [1]. Mahsa’s death engendered a visceral reaction across Iran. Iranians have raised their voices in protest to demand justice, freedom, and equality for women and beyond [2,3].

"On the evening of October 2, 2022, in brutal response to a protest staged by students at the Sharif University of Technology, one of Iran’s leading universities, various anti-riot forces violently stormed the university campus and surrounding areas. They laid siege to the university’s campus, brutally attacking and arresting students and faculty en masse [4,5]. This attack is followed by attacks on other universities that are continuing as we write this letter, including an attack on Tabriz University.   

"This unspeakable violence against students is an assault on the sanctity of education, academe, and fundamental human rights. We, the undersigned members of the global community of academics, condemn this attack and severe acts of aggression against universities and students in Iran and demand the immediate release of all arrested students and faculty and their protection against further attacks and arrests. "

"To sign this petition, please fill out this google form: 

For information, please reach out to: 







Here's a story about the attack on Sharif University, in the NY Times

‘Geniuses’ Versus the Guns: A Campus Crackdown Shocks Iran. Universities across Iran have erupted in protests after more than decade of being politically dormant, with students joining the unrest that has convulsed the country for the past three weeks.  By Farnaz Fassihi

"The scenes that unfolded at Sharif University on Sunday afternoon were some of the most shocking in the three weeks of protests led by women calling for an end to the Islamic Republic’s rule that have convulsed Iran since a 22-year-old woman, Mahsa Amini, died in the custody of the morality police. Security forces have cracked down violently on the protests but they continue."