Friday, April 19, 2024

Sports and celebrity (salary and income)

 Basketball superstar Caitlin Clark recently went pro for a salary of $76,535.  What's going on?  The LA Times has the story of rags and riches...

Caitlin Clark is worth millions. Why will she only make $76,535 in base salary as a WNBA rookie?  By Chuck Schilken

"Clark, the Iowa phenomenon who set the NCAA career basketball scoring record and helped the women’s March Madness tournament reach all-time highs in TV ratings, was the No. 1 overall pick for the Indiana Fever in Monday’s WNBA draft.

"Her jersey sales are already through the roof. The league scheduled the Fever for 36 nationally televised games, more than any other team this season, several days before Clark officially became a member of the team. Likewise, tickets for opposing teams’ home games against Indiana saw a spike in interest (and price) long before draft night.

Clark will make $76,535 in base salary this year as a WNBA rookie, part of a four-year contract worth $338,056.


"Those salaries are the maximum allowed for rookies, as laid out in the most recent collective bargaining agreement between the WNBA and its players association


"As the WNBA pointed out in a statement emailed to The Times on Tuesday night, however, Clark will have the opportunity to make more money on top of her base salary.

Caitlin Clark stands to make a half million dollars or more in WNBA earnings this coming season,” the statement read, “in addition to what she will receive through endorsements and other partnerships, which has been reported to already exceed $3 million.


"In addition to the individual endorsement deals she has already secured, Clark will undoubtedly will have a stream of other lucrative opportunities come her way. BIG3 co-founder Ice Cube has offered Clark $5 million to become the first female player in his three-on-three basketball league.

"Still, it might come as a bit of a shock to learn how relatively little Clark and other star WNBA rookies will make in base salary, especially compared with their counterparts in other leagues. Like Clark, Victor Wembanyama was seen as a generational talent when he was selected No. 1 overall by the San Antonio Spurs in the 2023 draft. His four-year rookie contract is worth $55.2 million."



 How Nike Won the Battle for Caitlin Clark  By Rachel Bachman, WSJ, April 19, 2024

"When it came to Clark, Nike looked even further into the future. The duration of the proposed contract, eight years, suggests that the brand sees not only long-term stardom potential, but truly global appeal. The next eight years, Nike executives reasoned, would give Clark a chance to represent the U.S. at three Olympic Games—this summer in Paris, 2028 in Los Angeles, and 2032 in Brisbane, Australia. (The U.S. roster for Paris won’t be announced until June or July.)

"Nike’s initial offer of $3.5 million a year, though an eye-popping number, didn’t initially come with a signature shoe. One possibility floated was that Clark would instead become the female face of the Kobe Bryant line, which relaunched in August 2023 to great fanfare.

"In its final offer to Clark, however, Nike upped its offer to include a signature shoe. That would give her the most lucrative and attractive shoe deal in women’s basketball—and yet another record for her collection."

Thursday, April 18, 2024

Top Trading Cycles (TTC) and the 50th anniversary of the Journal of Mathematical Economics

 This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Journal of Mathematical Economics, and also of the Top Trading Cycles (TTC) algorithm that was introduced in Volume 1, number 1 of the journal, in the paper by

Shapley, Lloyd, and Herbert Scarf. "On cores and indivisibility." Journal of mathematical economics 1, no. 1 (1974): 23-37. 

TTC was further analyzed in 

Roth, Alvin E., and Andrew Postlewaite. "Weak versus strong domination in a market with indivisible goods." Journal of Mathematical Economics 4, no. 2 (1977): 131-137.

Now the JME is assembling a 50th anniversary collection of papers surveying some of the resulting literatures, with some papers posted online ahead of publication. Here's what they had as of yesterday, including an article on Top Trading Cycles, by Morrill and Roth, and one on Housing markets since Shapley and Scarf, by Afacan, Hu, and Li:

JME’s 50th Anniversary Literature  Edited by Andres Carvajal and Felix Kübler

  1. Top trading cycles

    In Press, Journal Pre-proof, Available online 16 April 2024
    Article 102984
    View PDF
  2. Bubble economics

    April 2024
    Article 102944
    View PDF
  3. Stable outcomes in simple cooperative games

    April 2024
    Article 102960
    View PDF
  4. Fifty years of mathematical growth theory: Classical topics and new trends

    April 2024
    Article 102966
    View PDF
  5. Housing markets since Shapley and Scarf

    April 2024
    Article 102967
    View PDF


At least one of the papers in the (virtual) special issue is already published, I gather that some will be in the June issue:

Monday, March 4, 2024

Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Signaling in medical residency applications

 We're starting to see descriptive studies of how signals are being used in the labor market for new doctors.  Each medical specialty has chosen to adapt the kinds of signals used in Economics in its own way, with some specialties using only a handful of signals and others eliciting as many as 30.

Here are two papers from a recent issue of Academic Medicine.

Impact of Applicants’ Characteristics and Geographic Connections to Residency Programs on Preference Signaling Outcomes in the Match, by Benjamin, William J. MPH; Lenze, Nicholas R. MD, MPH; Bohm, Lauren A. MD; Thorne, Marc C. MD, MPH; Abraham, Reeni MD; Sepdham, Dan MD; Mihalic, Angela P. MD; Kupfer, Robbi A. MD,  Academic Medicine 99(4):p 437-444, April 2024. | DOI: 10.1097/ACM.0000000000005551


Purpose : To assess the impact of applicant and residency program characteristics on preference signaling outcomes in the Match during the first 2 years of implementation across 6 specialties.

Method : Data were obtained from the Texas Seeking Transparency in Application to Residency survey for applicants applying into otolaryngology during the 2020–2021 and 2021–2022 application cycles and into dermatology, internal medicine (categorical and preliminary year), general surgery, and urology during the 2021–2022 application cycle. The primary outcome was signal yield, defined as the number of interviews at signaled programs divided by the total number of signals sent. Associations with applicant-reported characteristics and geographic connections to residency programs were assessed using Wilcoxon rank sum testing, Spearman’s rank correlation testing, and ordinary least squares regression.

Results : 1,749 applicants with preference signaling data were included from internal medicine (n = 884), general surgery (n = 291), otolaryngology (n = 217), dermatology (n = 147), urology (n = 124), and internal medicine preliminary year (n = 86). On average 60.9% (standard deviation 32.3%) of signals resulted in an interview (signal yield). There was a stepwise increase in signal yield with the percentage of signals sent to programs with a geographic connection (57.3% for no signals vs. 68.9% for 5 signals, P < .01). Signal yield was positively associated with applicant characteristics, such as United States Medical Licensing Exam Step 1 and 2 scores, honors society membership, and number of publications (P < .01). Applicants reporting a lower class rank quartile were significantly more likely to have a higher percentage of their interviews come from signaled programs (P < .01).

Conclusions: Signal yield is significantly associated with geographic connections to residency programs and applicant competitiveness based on traditional metrics. These findings can inform applicants, programs, and specialties as preference signaling grows."

And here are the introductory paragraphs:

"The rising number of residency applications submitted per applicant has led to concerns that programs will not be able to adequately perform a holistic review of all applications and will instead rely on easily reviewed metrics, such as United States Medical Licensing Exam (USMLE) scores, class rank, and medical school reputation.1,2 In addition, COVID-19–related changes to the residency application process, such as the introduction of virtual interviewing and a cap on the number of away rotations medical students can complete, have limited applicants’ ability to informally express their interest in programs.3 Further, there is evidence that, while applying to the maximum number of programs is advantageous at the individual level, it leads to poorer overall results when all applicants follow this practice.2 To address this issue, new systems have been proposed, including personalized application paragraphs,4 program-specific messages,5 and preference signals.4,6,7

"Otolaryngology implemented a preference signaling system in 2021, which was based on theory developed by the American Economic Association (AEA) in 2006. The AEA used a preference signaling system for job market applicants, whereby applicants were allowed to express special interest in particular employers in their applications.8 Results from the AEA program highlighted that preference signals were beneficial to both candidates and employers in a labor market where employers are unable to provide full attention to every application they receive.9 Building off previous economic work, a computer simulation study run on 2014 otolaryngology Match data found that the number of interview invitations improved when applicants provided preferences on their Electronic Residency Application Service application; this result would have benefitted both programs and applicants.2

"Based on this research, the Otolaryngology Program Directors Association formally implemented a preference signaling system during the 2020–2021 application cycle in which applicants were granted 5 “signals” to send to residency programs prior to interviews indicating their strong interest in that program. Each program then received a list of the applicants who had sent them a signal.6,10,11 Data from the 2021 otolaryngology Match were notable for significantly increased interview rates at signaled programs across all levels of applicant competitiveness.10,12 Furthermore, the majority of program directors and applicants strongly supported the continuation of preference signaling.10,11 During the 2021–2022 application cycle, preference signaling pilot programs were implemented in 5 additional specialties: dermatology, internal medicine (categorical), internal medicine preliminary year, surgery (categorical), and urology, with each specialty using 5 signals per applicant, except dermatology, which used 3 signals"


The Relationship Between Program and Applicant Characteristics With Applicant Program Signals in the 2022 Residency Recruitment Cycle: Findings From 3 Specialties, by LaFemina, Jennifer MD; Rosman, Ilana S. MD; Wallach, Sara L. MD; Wise, Paul E. MD; Smink, Douglas S. MD, MPH; Fletcher, Laura PhD, Academic Medicine 99(4):p 430-436, April 2024. | DOI: 10.1097/ACM.0000000000005586


Purpose: Continuing increases in application volume have driven a national dialogue to reform the residency recruitment process. Program signaling allows applicants to express interest in a program at the preinterview stage with the goal of helping programs identify applicants with more genuine interest in their programs. This study explored the relationship between program signals and program and applicant characteristics.

Method: Participating dermatology, general surgery, and categorical internal medicine (IM) programs and applicants of the 2022 supplemental ERAS application (SuppApp) were included. Data from the SuppApp, the MyERAS Application for Residency Applicants (MyERAS), and the 2020 GME Track Survey were used. Cohen’s h was used to determine effect size, and chi-squared was used to determine statistical significance.

Results:There was an uneven distribution of signals to programs, with 25% of programs receiving about half of the signals across all 3 specialties. Programs with larger numbers of both residents and applicants received greater numbers of program signals relative to their program density, although this effect was small (h < 0.50, P < .001). No meaningful differences were seen across genders for any specialty. Only Hispanic applicants in IM sent a higher proportion of signals to programs with more underrepresented in medicine residents than White only applicants (40% vs 26%, h = 0.30, P < .001). Across all specialties, there was a small-to-moderate effect for international medical graduate (IMG) applicants sending a larger proportion of signals to programs with more IMG residents (h < 0.80, P < .001).

Conclusions: This first-year pilot study (i.e., SuppApp) provided initial evidence that supports the feasibility and fairness of program signals in residency selection. As program signals become more common across specialties, future research should continue to evaluate trends in where applicants send signals, and possible relationships between program and application characteristics."

"IMG applicants were more likely to signal programs with a greater proportion of IMG residents. The effect was small in dermatology and increased to moderate in GS and large in IM. In the NRMP’s 2022 Main Residency Match, 11 IMGs (U.S. and non-U.S.) matched into postgraduate year 2 dermatology, representing 2% of positions. This compares to the 10% and 38% IMG Match rate into GS and IM, respectively.21 While at this time, correlation of signal distribution and the likelihood of successfully matching is not available, these findings suggest that in general, IMG applicants sent more signals to programs they knew to be “IMG friendly” (i.e., more likely to accept IMGs), which they could easily identify with tools such as the Residency Explorer Tool22 and the Residency Programs List.23 However, if IMGs continue to send more signals to programs with already higher proportions of IMG residents, this may maintain the status quo or even further restrict the IMG applicant pool all programs are willing to consider during their resident selection process because programs with fewer IMGs will continue to receive a lower proportion of signals from IMG applicants. This could ultimately negatively affect diversity across programs"

Tuesday, April 16, 2024

New York is about to end its legal ban on adultery

A 1907 New York state law criminalizing adultery (as a misdemeanor) looks likely to be repealed.

New York adulterers could get tossed out of house but not thrown in jail under newly passed bill  by MAYSOON KHAN, Associated Press/

"A little-known and rarely enforced law from 1907 that makes adultery a crime in the state of New York could soon be a thing of the past, after lawmakers passed a bill Wednesday to repeal it.

"The state Senate approved the bill almost unanimously. It's now up to New York Gov. Kathy Hochul, who is in the midst of budget negotiations, to make the ultimate decision. Her office said she'd review the legislation. The state Assembly passed the measure last month.

"Laws banning adultery still exist in several states throughout the country, but they are seldom enforced. The New York law was initially implemented to bring down the number of divorces at a time when adultery was the only way to secure a legal split.

Adultery, classified as a misdemeanor in state penal code and punishable by up to three months behind bars, is defined in New York as when a person “engages in sexual intercourse with another person at a time when he has a living spouse, or the other person has a living spouse.”


"Adultery is still a crime in several other U.S. states, mostly as a misdemeanor, though Oklahoma, Wisconsin and Michigan treat it as a felony offense."


Here's the bill that is awaiting the Governor's signature. 

Monday, April 15, 2024

Expanding kidney exchange in India

 The Ahmedabad Mirror reports on the success of kidney exchange at the Trivedi Institute in that City, and on discussions underway to build a national kidney exchange infrastructure in India.

City Tops In India. City’s IKDRC Accounts For 539 Swap Transplants Out Of 1,808 Such Surgeries In India Till Date

"Ahmedabad leads India in the number of Kidney Paired Donations (KPD) or ‘kidney swap transplants’ carried out till date, having conducted 539 such surgeries out of 1,808 in 65 hospitals in India, shows data from the registry made by the Indian Society of Organ Transplantation (ISOT). These include two pairs of surgeries conducted in 2024 so far.

"Gujarat accounted for 565 such transplants of which 539 were conducted at the state-run Institute of Kidney Diseases and Research Centre (IKDRC) in Ahmedabad.

"In fact, in 2013, doctors and staff at IKDRC conducted 10 kidney swap transplants in a day, operating on 10 donors and 10 recipients in a 24-hour period.

"One Nation, One Swap?

"Mirror has now learnt that a consultation on whether a national Kidney Paired Donation programme should be instituted or not, and what should be its guidelines. 

"This is currently under deliberation between stakeholders at the National Organ and Tissue Transplant Organisation (NOTTO).  

"Its director, Dr Anil Kumar, told Mirror, “It is currently at the conceptual stage and in-principle discussions are underway for a swap organ transplant programme and guidelines are yet to be framed on this issue.”

"If implemented, the biggest benefit will be decrease in waiting period for those on dialysis and waiting list due to an incompatible donor if they match with a swap pair. This will also decrease the number of patients on the transplant waitlist.

"However, there are many challenges to this. Apart from the safeguards regarding consent and transparency, other problems include the lack of a nationwide guideline on documentation and approval of swap transplants and a national swap allocation system. The logistics of long-distance organ transport also needs attention.



Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Sunday, April 14, 2024

Market design at Stanford

 Two recent Stanford news stories focus on market design:

Symposium inaugurates Center for Computational Market Design. The new center will bring interdisciplinary expertise to bear on crafting rules and procedures for creating and improving markets.

"In an interview, Amin Saberi, a co-director of the center and professor of management science and engineering, said he hopes that research by the center’s members can inform market-related policy decisions in health care, education, transportation, electricity, and the environment.

“One of our goals is to collaborate with industry and the government to analyze existing markets and improve their performance,” Saberi said. “We also hope that the center becomes a launchpad for prototyping new marketplaces.”

Itai Ashlagi, the center’s other co-director and a professor of management science and engineering, said in an interview that the rise of artificial intelligence played a role in the decision to launch the center. “AI is going to be a big player in marketplaces,” he said.


For the Colorado River and beyond, a new market could save the day. Stanford economist Paul Milgrom won a Nobel Prize in part for his role in enabling today’s mobile world. Now he’s tackling a different 21st century challenge: water scarcity.



Sunday, January 7, 2024

Saturday, April 13, 2024

Call for papers: 4th ACM Conference on Equity and Access in Algorithms, Mechanisms, and Optimization (EAAMO '24)

 Nick Arnosti sends along the following call for papers (with a deadline on Wednesday):

We are excited to announce the Call for Participation for the 4th ACM Conference on Equity and Access in Algorithms, Mechanisms, and Optimization (EAAMO '24). The conference will be held from October 29-312024 in San Luis Potosí, Mexico.

EAAMO '24 will bring together academics and practitioners from diverse disciplines and sectors. The conference will highlight work along the research-to-practice pipeline aimed at improving access to opportunity for historically underserved and disadvantaged communities, as well as mitigating harms concerning inequitable and unsafe outcomes. In particular, we seek contributions from different fields that offer insights into the intersectional design and impacts of algorithms, optimization, and mechanism design with a grounding in the social sciences and humanistic studies.

Submissions can include research, survey, and position papers as well as problem- and practice-driven submissions by academics and practitioners from any disciplines or sectors alike. 

Important Dates:

Paper Submission Deadline: 17 April 2024, AoE

Submission Notification: 18 July 2024

Paper Submission Page:

Event Dates: 29 October - 31 October 2024

The conference will offer opportunities to engage with leading experts, share innovative research and practices, and network with peers. We look forward to your participation, and we encourage you to disseminate the Call for Papers to any interested colleagues.

 For any further inquiries about the conference, please contact the Program Chairs at


EAAMO '24 Organizers 

 Program Chairs: 

Nick Arnosti, University of Minnesota
Caterina Calsamiglia, IPEG

Salvador Ruiz-Correa, IPIYCT

John P. Dickerson, Arthur & University of Maryland

Friday, April 12, 2024

Gambling on sports, by and on athletes

 Now that sports betting is legal, and apps allow people to bet on particular events within a game as it unfolds, there is concern that players could be (illegally) incentivized to under-perform in order to cause some bets to become winning bets.

The WSJ has the story:

America Made a Huge Bet on Sports Gambling. The Backlash Is Here.  Less than six years after a Supreme Court ruling paved the way for widespread legal sports gambling in the U.S., sports leagues face an onslaught of scandals related to betting.  By Joshua Robinson, , Jared Diamond,  and Robert O'Connell

"American sports spent more than a century keeping gambling as far away as possible, in the name of preserving competitive purity and repelling scandal and corruption. 

"Now, less than six years after the Supreme Court opened the door for states to embrace legal sports betting, major U.S. leagues are already confronting the darker sides of sports betting with alarming frequency. And at the heart of the problems is the population whose ability to bet on sports is the most severely curbed: the athletes themselves.


"The situation has become worrisome enough that National Collegiate Athletic Association president Charlie Baker on Wednesday amped up his organization’s call for a nationwide ban on bets on the performance of individual college athletes. 


“All of the positive benefits and additional fan engagement that could potentially come from sports betting mean nothing if we’re not protecting the integrity of the game,” Marquest Meeks, MLB’s deputy general counsel for sports betting and compliance, said in an interview last summer.

"Gambling scandals have long tainted sports. The 1919 Black Sox scandal involved eight players accused of throwing the World Series for money. Baseball superstar Pete Rose received a lifetime ban for betting on baseball, a penalty that has blocked the game’s all-time hits leader from the Hall of Fame. Point-shaving scandals have periodically roiled college basketball, and NBA referee Tim Donaghy went to prison for betting on games he officiated.


"Odds are now openly discussed on live broadcasts. Ads for betting apps seem to appear during every commercial break and are plastered around stadiums and arenas. Sports leagues even have gambling-focused programming on their official networks. 


"What’s at stake now is the promise that lies at the very center of the sports experience: Fans and participants must believe that what they are seeing is true. Yet as the leagues and the gamblers grow closer together, the mere suggestion that players could be motivated to manipulate outcomes has been enough to create fresh doubts


"Since the prohibition on sports gambling was lifted, leagues that had once viewed betting as an existential threat to their integrity scrambled to partner with gambling companies and brought them into the tent. This winter, Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James became a brand ambassador for DraftKings, where he will dispense picks for football games. The NBA itself also announced a new feature designed to mesh the betting experience with live action: Fans watching games on League Pass, the flagship streaming platform, would be able to opt in to view betting odds on the app’s interface and click through to place wagers.

"Nothing, however, made the American marriage between sports and betting more public than what took place in the Nevada desert in February: The NFL held its first ever Super Bowl in Las Vegas.


“To half the world, I’m just helping them make money on DraftKings,” [Indiana Pacers point guard Tyrese] Haliburton said Tuesday evening, naming one of the league’s partners. “I’m a prop.” He was referring to so-called proposition bets, in which gamblers can place wagers on specific outcomes such as how many points a player scores or rebounds he grabs."

Thursday, April 11, 2024

Talks at Washington State University, today and tomorrow

Below is the announcement for a public lecture I'll give today at Washington State University, in Pullman, WA.  

Bertha C. and Roy E. Leigh Distinguished Lecture in Economics — School of Economic Sciences

"The School of Economic Sciences invites you to the Leigh Lecture on Thursday, April 11, at 4:30 p.m. in CUE 203 on the Pullman campus. The talk, titled “Economists as Engineers: Matchmaking and Market Design,” will be presented by Dr. Alvin Roth, the Craig and Susan McCaw Professor of Economics at Stanford University."     (another announcement here.)

And tomorrow at 3:00 I'll give an Economics department lecture on "Controversial markets and prohibited transactions."

Wednesday, April 10, 2024

Vatican statement on gender-affirming surgery and human dignity

 A new statement from the Vatican has been widely covered in the press.

Here's the story from the National Catholic Reporter:

Vatican condemns surrogacy, gender-affirming surgery, gender theory in new doctrinal note. Vatican doctrinal chief calls it 'painful' that some Catholics support gay criminalization  BY CHRISTOPHER WHITE, April 8, 2024

"Sex change operations, gender theory and surrogate motherhood pose grave threats to human dignity, according to a major new Vatican document released on April 8. 

While the highly anticipated treatise, "Dignitas Infinita: on Human Dignity," which has been the source of much speculation for months, offers a broadside against the creation of new rights motivated by sex and gender, it is largely a reiteration of long-held Catholic teaching on a number of social and moral concerns. 

The new document, however, seeks to elevate a number of social themes emphasized by Pope Francis during his decadelong papacy — such as poverty, migration and human trafficking — as being equally a part of the full panoply of potential threats to human dignity as bioethical concerns, such as abortion and euthanasia.   


"Among the newly identified threats to human dignity are poverty; war; the travail of migrants; human trafficking; sexual abuse; violence against women; abortion; child surrogacy; euthanasia and assisted suicide; the marginalization of people with disabilities; gender theory; sex change; and digital violence.

Gender theory, according to the document, is a subject of considerable debate among scientific experts, and risks denying "the greatest possible difference that exists between living beings: sexual difference."  

The document repeats a frequent warning of Francis against "ideological colonization," where the pope has sharply criticized western governments for allegedly imposing their sexual values on the developing world. All efforts to eliminate sexual differences between men and women must be rejected, says the document. 

At the same time, the document also begins with a caveat that all persons, regardless of their sexual orientation, must be respected, and "every sign of unjust discrimination is to be carefully avoided, particularly any form of aggression and violence."

"For this reason," the document continues, "it should be denounced as contrary to human dignity the fact that, in some places, not a few people are imprisoned, tortured, and even deprived of the good of life solely because of their sexual orientation."  

Last year, Francis became the first pope to specifically condemn the criminalization of homosexuality and said that the Catholic Church must work towards an end to what he described as "unjust" laws that criminalize being gay. At present, at least 67 countries have laws criminalizing same-sex relations. 

In its brief section on gender-affirming surgeries, the document avoids using the term "transgender" and instead offers a muted prohibition against medical interventions for such purposes.


"Catholic LGBTQ groups criticized the new Vatican document within hours of its publication, saying it failed to acknowledge the concrete experience of transgender and nonbinary individuals.

New Ways Ministry, an advocacy group that had an historic meeting with Francis at the Vatican last October, said in a statement that the text "fails terribly" and shows the limits of the church's understand of human dignity.


"The new document also goes on to repeat the pope's recent call for an international ban on the rising practice of surrogate motherhood, declaring that the "legitimate desire to have a child cannot be transformed into a 'right to a child' that fails to respect the dignity of that child as the recipient of the gift of life."  

In January, Francis used his annual "State of the World" address to ambassadors accredited to the Holy See to push for a global ban on surrogacy. 

While the pope had previously condemned the practice, the pope's sweeping remarks on the topic — where he called it a "grave violation of the dignity of the woman and the child" — marked the first time he had made such a specific policy proposal. Last month, the Vatican's ambassador to the United Nations, Archbishop Gabriele Caccia, also pressed for an international prohibition against the practice. "

Tuesday, April 9, 2024

Kidneys: compensation and altruism

 Apropos of my debate with Debra Satz this afternoon, here are two articles about kidney donation, from pure altruism or with compensation, in the New York Times and in The Journal of Medicine and Philosophy.

In the NYT:

Let People Sell Their Kidneys. It Will Save Lives., By Dylan Walsh, April 2, 2024

"There are 100,000 people in the United States waiting for a kidney. More than half a million are on dialysis, which from my experience I know to be more of a means of survival than a form of living. ... The National Kidney Foundation estimates that without more investment in preventing diabetes and other ailments, more than one million people will be suffering from kidney failure by 2030, up from over 800,000 now.


"Creating a market for kidneys is not a new concept, but it’s historically been met with disgust: Sell what? To be fair, some of the ways to structure such a market would be irresponsible, coercive and deserving of that disgust.

"But others are more thoughtful and prudent. One approach is to make the federal government the sole purchaser of kidneys. Donor and recipient would never meet. Compensation would be fixed, haggling impossible. After the kidney is acquired, the transplant process would unfold in the typical manner."


In The Journal of Medicine and Philosophy:

Semrau, Luke. "The Altruism Requirement as Moral Fiction." In The Journal of Medicine and Philosophy: A Forum for Bioethics and Philosophy of Medicine, p. jhae011. US: Oxford University Press, 2024.

"Abstract: It is widely agreed that living kidney donation is permitted but living kidney sales are not. Call this the Received View. One way to support the Received View is to appeal to a particular understanding of the conditions under which living kidney transplantation is permissible. It is often claimed that donors must act altruistically, without the expectation of payment and for the sake of another. Call this the Altruism Requirement. On the conventional interpretation, the Altruism Requirement is a moral fact. It states a legitimate constraint on permissible transplantation and is accepted on the basis of cogent argument. The present paper offers an alternative interpretation. I suggest the Altruism Requirement is a moral fiction—a kind of motivated falsehood. It is false that transplantation requires altruism. But the Requirement serves a purpose. Accepting it allows kidney donation but not kidney sale. It, in short, rationalizes the Received View."

Here's the concluding paragraph:

"I have argued that the Altruism Requirement is a moral fiction. No sound arguments demonstrate its truth. It continues to enjoy widespread endorsement on account of its perceived link to the Received View. It is taken as a means of allowing kidney donation but not kidney sale. Thus, it is unsurprising that, on examination, in ethical argument and in the practice of transplantation, it is, de facto, a No Payment Requirement."

Monday, April 8, 2024

Kidney Markets with Alvin Roth and Debra Satz (tomorrow, at Stanford)

 Tomorrow Debra Satz and I will respectfully disagree with each other about the prospects for and desirability of compensation for kidney donors, as part of the series  she is conducting on Democracy and Disagreement.

Kidney Markets with Alvin Roth and Debra Satz

FROM THE SERIES: Democracy and Disagreement

Tuesday, April 9, 2024  3:00pm - 4:50pm

CEMEX Auditorium, 655 Knight Way, Stanford, CA


Stanford professors Alvin Roth and Debra Satz discuss kidney markets.

ABOUT THE SERIES:  Democracy and Disagreement

Debra Satz, the Vernon R. and Lysbeth Warren Anderson Dean of the School of Humanities and Sciences, and Paul Brest, interim dean and professor emeritus at Stanford Law School, host faculty members on opposing sides of a given issue for discussions that model civil disagreement. 

Open to the Stanford community.