Sunday, April 26, 2015

Multi-unit allocation workshop at Penn, Apr 26, 2015


9:30 - 10:30 amJacob Leshno (Columbia)
A Supply and Demand Framework for Two-Sided Matching Markets 
10:45 - 11:45 amBumin Yenmez (CMU Econ)
Matching with Externalities 
11:45 - 12:45 pmBreak
12:45 - 1:45 pmMichael Richter (Yeshiva)
Continuum Mechanism Design with Budget Constraints
2:00 - 3:00 pmGabriel Y. Weintraub (Columbia)
Repeated Auctions with Budgets in Ad Exchanges: Approximations and Designs 
3:15 - 4:15 pmHaoxiang Zhu (MIT)
Welfare and Optimal Trading Frequency in Dynamic Double Auctions 
4:30 - 5:30 pmTadashi Hashimoto (Yeshiva)
Equilibrium Selection and Inefficiency in Internet Advertising Auctions

Organizer: Mariann Ollar
Sponsored by the UPenn Market Design Working Group

A quick internet search for the marriage-market illustration yields this:

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Harvard celebrates Carmen Wang

One of the most interesting young market designers at Harvard these days is  Carmen Wang, a Ph.D. student in the Business Economics program. Here's an article about her work on blood donation registries, and her hope to combine market design with behavioral economics: The Real Price of Blood--How one GSAS student uses the tools of behavioral economics to increase blood donations

It begins this way:
"Love isn’t the only thing money can’t buy—blood is, too. And yet, though no money is exchanged, blood can find ways of getting to the people who need it, though not often in ways where demand and supply are aligned. In the days following the Boston Marathon bombing, people rushed to give blood in support of the victims, eager to donate one of the human body’s most precious resources to others, free of charge.

"While this altruistic impulse is certainly commendable, according to Carmen Wang, it is sometimes misguided. “In that instance, the American Red Cross had to issue an announcement thanking would-be donors and informing them that they already had an adequate supply of blood.” But at other times, for example when the flu or cold virus afflicts many regular donors, blood supply dips, and blood banks have trouble finding people willing to give."

Friday, April 24, 2015

Contagion, for good and ill

Frank Bruni had a recent NY Times column that reminded me of the chain of high school suicides:
"Between May 2009 and January 2010, five Palo Alto teenagers ended their lives by stepping in front of trains. And since October of last year, another three Palo Alto teenagers have killed themselves that way, prompting longer hours by more sentries along the tracks. The Palo Alto Weekly refers to the deaths as a “suicide contagion.”

Sometimes something similar happens with good acts, and I was reminded of that by this recent story from Israel (about a different kind of chain of kidney donations than I usually write about):

Chain Reaction of Good Will
"Avraham Shapira donated a kidney to a stranger and set off a series of altruistic gestures. A few months later his cousin, Yehuda Rabinovich, was inspired by Shapira and also donated a kidney to a stranger. From there the movement spread around the Shomron region. So far six people have donated kidneys to complete strangers."

Thursday, April 23, 2015

American Society of Transplantation conference on Resolving the Organ Shortage

Here's an early announcement of a conference scheduled for February 2016, organized by the American Society of Transplantation, which reflects some of the intense discussion going on in the transplant community about how to alleviate the shortage of transplantable organs.

(As background, recall these three recent posts:

Friday, April 3, 2015

There's no consensus on incentives for kidney donation, but maybe there is on removing disincentives

Two major transplantation societies cautiously consider incentives for organ donation

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

The latest, longest kidney exchange chain, involving 68 people, 34 transplants

The National Kidney Registry has completed a new, long non-simultaneous nondirected donor chain, maybe the longest to date. Here are some stories, from the local press at some of the hospitals involved.

Kidney exchange in which Allegheny General Hospital participates enables 34 transplants
 "A Somerset County man and 33 other renal disease patients received new kidneys this year in an unprecedented national chain of organ transplants, Allegheny General Hospital announced Wednesday.
The North Side hospital is among 26 domestic transplant centers that participated in the exchange, run through March by the nonprofit National Kidney Registry. It is the largest multi-center paired kidney exchange so far in the United States, the registry said."

The final link: UW Hospital completes longest chain of kidney donations

"A Wisconsin woman received the final kidney transplant at the University of Wisconsin Hospital in March, completing the longest chain of kidney donations.

"UW Hospital is a member of the National Kidney Registry, an organization that works to match kidney donors with recipients for transplants. The registry organized the completed kidney chain, which started and ended at UW Hospital.
"Of the 68 people in the kidney chain, 34 donors and 34 recipients, five were connected through UW Hospital, Miller said."

D.C., Md., Va. hospitals participate in largest-ever multi-hospital kidney transplant chain
"With 34 donors and 34 recipients, Chain 357, nicknamed a “chain of love,” is the country's largest-ever multi-hospital kidney transplant chain. The National Kidney Registry worked with 26 hospitals across the country to make sure every link of the chain connected.
"Since Jan. 6, the chain has bounced across the country, including stops at MedStar Georgetown Transplant Institute in Washington, D.C.; Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md.; University of Virginia Hospital in Charlottesville, Va.; and two bouts at the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore, Md." 

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Expanding non-directed kidney donation: the Renewal model

An article in the Forward talks about attempts to expand the successful organ donation program of Renewal beyond the Jewish community:
Can an Orthodox Charity Help Save Lives in This Man's Church?

"Although 90% of Renewal’s donors are ultra-Orthodox, about half their recipients are people like Sarna, who come from the broader Jewish community.

"The average wait time for a kidney through Renewal is six to nine months.

"Because many ultra-Orthodox rabbis believe that organ donation from dead bodies is against Jewish law, Renewal focuses solely on live donors. That puts Renewal’s donors in an extremely rare group of several hundred Americans who, each year, donate their kidney altruistically to a stranger.
"Researchers are studying Renewal’s model to see whether it can be replicated in other race- and faith-based communities. Meanwhile, one African-American transplant surgeon is setting up a group modeled on Renewal in a prominent Harlem church.

"Anthony Watkins, an assistant professor of surgery at Weill Cornell Medical College, has witnessed Renewal’s work firsthand, ever since he began his transplant fellowship six years ago. “I’ve always thought that what Renewal does is spectacular and fantastic and [that] maybe this could be duplicated in other communities,” he said.

"Watkins thinks that by using Renewal’s model — appealing to African Americans to help fellow African Americans — he can persuade people to donate in greater numbers. “I think once you establish a good rapport and knowledge and education… you can get altruistic donors to step forward,” Watkins said. But how many people are willing to donate a live organ to a stranger?
"Renewal facilitates an average of about 50 kidney transplants a year. About three-quarters of those transplants are ultra-Orthodox donors giving to a Jewish stranger.

"Ultra-Orthodox Jews account for just 0.2% of America’s population. Yet last year, by the Forward’s estimates, they accounted for up to 17% of the people who donated a kidney to strangers.

"Rees realized that if Renewal’s model of communally focused organ donation could be extrapolated to the general population, it could create tens of thousands of additional kidney donors. The waiting list could be reduced to zero. “That’s what Renewal has achieved,” Rees said, “and that is nothing short of amazing.”

"Rees contacted Duke University to see if researchers there could investigate whether Renewal’s model could be replicated in Christian communities.

"Last year, two Duke professors, David Toole and Kim Krawiec, put together an interdisciplinary team of faculty and students, including lawyers, physicians, sociologists and theologians, to examine new methods of increasing living kidney donation.
"Renewal leads donors and recipients through every stage of the transplant process. It is particularly important for kidney donors, who receive very little financial support from insurance companies and the state. Renewal covers lost wages, transportation and any necessary hotel costs. It also offers domestic support such as house cleaning, laundry services and catering. Reiner said that the average cost of a transplant, including the group’s administrative overhead, is about $20,000.
"The United Network for Organ Sharing, which tracks donations nationally, counts a kidney donation as “altruistic” only if the donor does not specify to whom the kidney is given. Last year it tracked 180 such altruistic donations.

"Because Renewal’s donors choose the recipient of their kidney — even though they have no personal relationship with them — UNOS categorizes them in a larger pool of 1,273 living donors who directed their kidney to a “non-relative.”

"Based on this method, Renewal’s donors account for about 2% or 3% of living donations to non-family members.

"But Duke University’s Toole says that it is unfair to compare Renewal’s donors to most other donors in this larger pool because most of those donors know the recipient of their kidney. Renewal’s donors give to strangers. “What makes the model so interesting,” Toole said, is that “it’s some in-between space” between directed donations and altruistic donations."

See my earlier post on Renewal here.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Dynamic Games: 26th Jerusalem Summer School in Economic Theory (deadline April 27)

Theory and experiments in Jerusalem this summer...

26th Jerusalem School in Economic Theory

Dynamic Games

Event date: Jun 24 - Jul 3, 2015

    Eric Maskin, Director (Harvard University)
    Elchanan Ben-Porath, Codirector (The Hebrew University)
    Drew Fudenberg (Harvard University)

    In many economic, social, and political settings, participants interact strategically not just once but over time.

    When raising its import tariffs today, for example, a country will try to anticipate the reactions of its trading partners tomorrow. And an oligopolistic firm can learn from its rivals’ past pricing behavior so as to gauge what prices they are likely to set now.

    The Summer School will emphasize theoretical aspects of dynamic games, but will also include work on experiments.

    List of speakers:
    Robert Aumann (The Hebrew University)
    Martin Cripps (University College London)
    Guillaume Fréchette (New York University)
    Drew Fudenberg (Harvard University)
    Sergiu Hart (The Hebrew University)
    Johannes Hörner (Yale University)
    Navin Kartik (Columbia University)
    George Mailath (University of Pennsylvania)
    Eric Maskin (Harvard University)
    Abraham Neyman (The Hebrew University)
    Larry Samuelson (Yale University)
    Alistair Wilson (University of Pittsburgh)

Deadline for applications: April 27