Saturday, December 16, 2017

The legal market for marijuana in Uruguay

The Guardian has the story
How Uruguay made legal highs work
The South American country’s move to full legalisation of cannabis has so far proved a success, especially for its 17,391 users

"“On the street 25 grams of marijuana would cost you 3,000 pesos, that’s about $100 for something with probably a large amount of pesticide, seeds and stems,” says Luciano, a young buyer who is next in line. “But here the same amount would cost you only $30, and it comes in guaranteed, premium quality, thermosealed 5g packs.”

"In July this year, tiny Uruguay became the first country in the world to legalise the sale of marijuana across its entire territory.
"Only 12 of the country’s 1,100 pharmacies have signed up so far to supply the 17,391 government-registered consumers served by the system, which explains the long queues outside. The low price and slim profit margin partly explain their reticence. “But the main problem is that banks have threatened to close the accounts of pharmacies selling marijuana,” said one chemist who sells marijuana in Montevideo, but who did not want to reveal his name for fear of such bank intervention.
"Although sales of the drug have been legalised in various US states, they remain illegal at federal level, leading to a situation where most banks refuse to handle marijuana-related accounts anywhere in the world. Even now that sales in Uruguay have been completely legalised, the fear of running into trouble with the US federal authorities has become concrete.
"The transformation of consumers has been astounding,” says Blasina. “They’ve gone from buying low-quality products from street dealers to becoming gourmet experts who compete with the crops at their clubs.”

Friday, December 15, 2017

Scott Kominers had a big market design class at Harvard this year

Scott may eventually educate a high percentage of market designers: here's a picture of his class this year.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Japan's health insurance will pay for overseas transplants

In Japan, the national insurance will now pay for some transplants done overseas, when they cannot be done at home. The discussion reflects concern that they may be accused of organ trafficking. (Thanks to Fuhito Kojima for the link...)

海外臓器移植、一部保険給付へ 1千万円程度 現在は全額自己負担

(Google translate: Overseas organ transplantation, partial insurance benefit To ten million yen now All costs self-burden)

"Katsuobu Kato Kunihiro Kato revealed a policy to pay part of expenses from public health insurance to patients who are going abroad and get organ transplants because they are not provided domestically at the Cabinet meeting after the Cabinet meeting on December 12 . Consider using "overseas medical care expense system" to reimburse overseas treatment expenses from medical insurance of subscribers. The relevant patient seems to be around ten people a year, mainly children.

 "Currently, all overseas organ transplant patients are borne entirely by themselves, and in the case of the heart, since it costs several hundred million yen, there are many cases where fund raising activities are carried out. There is also an international declaration that "Organs necessary for transplant surgery should be secured in the home country", and this policy can lead to promotion of transplantation and international criticism is also anticipated. Kato Atsushi said, "It is fundamental to implement organ transplants under the domestic regime and it will not change anything."

 "The subjects to be covered by insurance are limited to patients who satisfy certain criteria such as being registered in the Japan Organ Transplant Network and being in danger of maintaining life in the standby state. When applying for overseas medical expenses, it is also necessary to prove that it is an operation not applicable to organ trafficking."

 I'm reminded of current controversies concerning global kidney exchange, which involves cross-border kidney exchange.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Tax credit for adopting a child

Philip Held draws my attention to this oped from the WSJ, by By Jedd Medefind (who is president of the Christian Alliance for Orphans, and formerly led the White House Office of Faith Based and Community Initiatives (2008-09)).

The Adoption Tax Credit Saves Money
The foster system costs over $25,000 a year for each child.

"The adoption tax credit, which provides up to $13,570 to aid families in adopting a child, has teetered on a razor’s edge in tax-reform negotiations. But the bills passed by the House and Senate both ultimately preserved it, and now the conference committee should follow suit. Eliminating the credit would harm children who need families, while hitting America in the pocketbook.

"There are more than 115,000 children in foster care today. About half of them will be adopted, but without the tax credit that number would drop significantly. The rest “age out” of foster care, likely without family for life.
"Families don’t adopt to get a tax credit. But the costs of going through the process—and then meeting the needs of a child coming from a hard place—can be a major barrier. After the adoption tax credit first became widely available in 1997, adoptions from foster care nearly doubled in three years.

"A drop in adoptions would mean fewer [children] finding families. It would also push government spending higher in many areas. Government’s replacement for parents—the foster system—costs taxpayers well over $25,000 a year for each child, according to a 2011 report by the National Council for Adoption. That doesn’t count spending on a huge number of other programs that chip in, including food stamps, Medicaid and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families."

Here's the 2011 report.
"Comparing the per-child cost ofsubsidized adoption from fostercare with the cost of maintaininga child in foster care, one concludes that the child adoptedfrom foster care costs the publiconly 40 percent as much as thechild who remains in fostercare. The difference in cost perchild per year amounts to$15,480."

I can't help seeing a strong analogy between
  • adoption saving kids from foster care;
  • kidney transplants saving patients from dialysis; and
  • adoptive parents being analogous to kidney donors...

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Ed Glaeser reviews Who Gets What and Why in the Journal of Economic Literature

Ed has written a generous review in the Journal of Economic Literature, of my book and of the field of market design. His review gave me an inkling of what it was like to read the book rather than to have written it*.

Glaeser, Edward L.. 2017. "A Review Essay on Alvin Roth's Who Gets What—And Why." Journal of Economic Literature, 55(4):1602-14.

Abstract: Alvin Roth’s Who Gets What—And Why provides a richly accessible introduction to his pioneering work on market design. Much of economics ignores the institutions that allocate goods, blithely assuming that the mythical Walrasian auctioneer will handle everything perfectly. But markets do fail and Roth details those failures, like the market for law clerks that unravels because clerks and judges commit to each other too quickly. Roth combines theory and pragmatic experience to show how the economist can engineer successful markets. He has even enabled welfare-improving trades in kidney exchanges, where law and social repugnance forbids cash payments.

*To put it another way, I'm reminded of Ralph Waldo Emerson's line "“Tis the good reader that makes the good book...," or maybe Samuel Johnson “A writer only begins a book. A reader finishes it.”

Monday, December 11, 2017

Wales' organ donation opt-out law has not increased donors--BBC

Here's the story from the BBC:
Wales' organ donation opt-out law has not increased donors

"Wales' opt-out system for organ donation has not increased the number of donors in the two years since it was introduced, a study has confirmed.
"Adults in Wales are presumed to have consented to organ donation unless they have opted out.
"The data was published in a Welsh Government report about the impact of the Human Transplantation (Wales) Act.
"In the 21 months before the law changed in December 2015 there were 101 deceased donors in Welsh hospitals. The data showed there were 104 in the same time period since the law change.
Every quarter NHS Blood and Transplant releases figures for organ donation for each county in the UK.
Mr Gething acknowledged the figures and added: "The report suggests this may be because there have been fewer eligible donors over the short period since the change in law.
"It's important to remember that it's too early to know what the true impact of the change will be, but I'm confident we have started to create a culture where organ donation is openly discussed."

HT: Frank McCormick

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Different ways of being a bad apple

Readers of this blog may be familiar with the article by Judge Alex Kozinski about how he hires and interacts with law clerks, earlier than his competitors:
Confessions of a Bad Apple, The Yale Law Journal, Vol. 100, No. 6 (Apr., 1991), pp. 1707-1730

It began as follows:

I was sad to notice this Dec 8 Washington Post story which reports that Judge Kozinski is the latest public figure to face credible allegations, from six of his former clerks, of being a different sort of bad apple.

Prominent appeals court Judge Alex Kozinski accused of sexual misconduct

Saturday, December 9, 2017

The gray market for marijuana in Holland

The combination of a legal market and an illegal one makes for a gray market, which seems to be the situation of marijuana sellers in the Netherlands. (Not so different from legal marijuana sellers in some American states, who still run afoul of federal laws...)

The Guardian has the story:
Netherlands coffee shop case highlights 'paradox' of cannabis laws

"With 3,000 customers a day, a restaurant, ample parking and turnover of €26m (£23m) a year, Checkpoint cafe, the largest cannabis-selling coffee shop in the Netherlands, was a fabulous commercial success.

"That was until it was closed down in 2009 for testing to the limits what the Dutch describe as their gedogenbeleid (tolerance policy) under which prosecutors turn a blind eye to the breaking of certain laws, including in the business of selling cannabis.

"The latest and most likely final appeal hearing of criminal charges against the cafe’s owner, Meddie Willemsen, has highlighted what the president of a court in Den Bosch described as “paradoxes” in the Dutch approach to so-called soft drugs.

"Licensed coffee shops are allowed to sell cannabis from their premises, but can keep only 500g on site at any time. Production of the drug is illegal.

"When Checkpoint was at its peak, Willemsen, 66, was regularly keeping about 200kg of cannabis on his large premises in Terneuzen, near the Belgian border. The size of the enterprise could have led to fairly reasonable assumptions that those providing the drugs would be large criminal gangs.

"Prosecutors were informed by the court that while Checkpoint cafe was certainly criminal, local authorities had effectively aided it at times and turned a blind eye for long enough that punishment of the owner would be inappropriate.

"The court heard the illegal activity was necessary for a cafe of Checkpoint’s size. The president ruled: “That is punishable. But at the same time not to be avoided when you run a well-functioning coffee shop.”
"The president of the court in Den Bosch said the story of Checkpoint cafe highlighted the absurdity of the law in the Netherlands, where selling cannabis at the front of the shop is legal, under strict criteria, but production and sourcing of it at the back is illegal. “Here lies a task for the legislator,” the president said.

"In 2012, the Dutch government changed the law to criminalise sales by coffee shops to customers who cannot prove they live in the Netherlands. There is a dispensation for people in Amsterdam, on the grounds that the practice is part of the attraction for tourists visiting the city.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Hiring America's soldiers

The veterans' publication Task and Purpose has the story:
The Recruiters: Searching For The Next Generation Of Warfighters In A Divided America  By ADAM LINEHAN 

"Since the draft was ended in 1973, recruiting has become one of the most important jobs in the military. For the Army, it’s imperative. While the Marine Corps prides itself on being lean, mean, and agile, and the Navy and Air Force increasingly rely on unmanned vehicles and long-range munitions, the Army’s greatest contribution to the battlefield is, and always has been, people. Roughly 70% of the nearly 7,000 U.S. troops killed so far in Iraq and Afghanistan were Army soldiers. Most were recruited through centers like the one in East Orange.

"Headquartered in Fort Knox, Kentucky, U.S. Army Recruiting Command, or USAREC, manages the recruiting mission for the service’s active-duty and reserve components. It is a massive, ever-evolving operation involving approximately 12,500 military and civilian personnel spread across 1,400 recruiting centers in the United States and abroad, including in Europe and Guam. Roughly $4.6 billion of the Army’s $33.8 billion budget for fiscal year 2017 was allotted for recruiting and training new soldiers; $424 million of that was spent on bonuses alone. The Army also poured more than $289 million into television, radio, digital media, direct mail, and sports-related advertising campaigns. A lot of blood, sweat, and tears goes into keeping the ranks filled with qualified volunteers. The recruiting machine never stops.

"The biggest factor in recruiting success is the health of the economy. Typically, when the unemployment rate goes up, so does the number of Americans wanting to join the military. Nonetheless, the more economically stressed, socioeconomic classes tend to be underrepresented in the armed forces. Although people in low-income neighborhoods are generally more inclined than their wealthier compatriots to enlist, fewer and fewer have the qualifications to serve. Rising standards are part of the reason. But so are a host of societal problems that tend to hit disenfranchised populations especially hard, such as increasing obesity rates and a public education system that disadvantages low-income zip codes.

"Currently, only about 29% of Americans between the ages of 17–24 are eligible to serve. Disqualifiers include lack of a high-school diploma or GED; tattoos on the hand, face, or neck; a wide range of physical and mental-health problems; a history of illegal drug use, and a criminal record.
"Bryant believes the Army could keep its ranks filled by focusing on a handful of states, most of them south of the Mason-Dixon line, while paying extra attention to communities within those states that have formed around military installations. Current trends support this view: Of the newest crop of Army recruits, half came from just seven states; 79% had relatives who served. The military has become increasingly — some would even add dangerously — insular since the advent of the all-volunteer force. As the journalist Thomas E. Ricks noted in a 1997 article for The Atlantic titled The Widening Gap Between Military and Society, this trend toward homogeneity was likely accelerated by the closing of dozens of bases and installations following the end of the Cold War, which significantly reduced the military’s footprint in the West and Northeast. 

“You can kind of draw a smiley face from North Carolina around the southern United States halfway up California, and that’s where the majority of [military] post, camps, and stations are,” Snow said. “Youth who have more interaction with those in uniform tend to [be more likely to enlist].” Could the Army shutter its recruiting centers in the Northeast and still meet its quotas? Snow suspects it could. “But then we’re getting away from the very principles that we pride ourselves on, and that’s that we are a microcosm of society,” he added.  

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Behavioral and Experimental Health Economics conference at Georgia State

Here's the announcement:
5th Workshop in Behavioral and Experimental Health Economics, Dec 7-8, 2017

General Information

Following the success of previous workshops in Oslo, Hamilton, Essen and Cologne, we are pleased to host the 5th Workshop on Behavioral and Experimental Health Economics in Atlanta. The workshop brings together economists who apply behavioral economics and experimental methods in health economics research to present and discuss their research papers. We also welcome researchers from related fields, such as Public Health, Epidemiology and Medicine. We welcome contributions on all topics within health economics using experimental methods and behavioral economics applications.


The primary keynote address will be given by Professor Judd Kessler from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania: Judd received a B.A. in Economics from Harvard University in 2004, an M.Phil. in Economics from Cambridge University in 2005, and a Ph.D. in Business Economics from Harvard University in 2011. In his research he uses a combination of laboratory and field experiments to answer questions in Public Economics and market design. He investigates the economic and psychological forces that motivate individuals to contribute to public goods, with applications including organ donation, worker effort, and charitable giving. He also investigates market design innovations, placing particular emphasis on bringing market design from theory to practice, with applications including course allocation and priority systems for organ allocation. Judd’s research has appeared in general interest journals including the American Economic Review, the Quarterly Journal of Economics, and Management Science, as well as specialist journals such as Health Economics and American Journal of TransplantationAnnals of Internal Medicine, and the Journal of General Internal Medicine.

Same sex marriage is now legal in Australia

From the NY Times: Australia Makes Same-Sex Marriage Legal

"SYDNEY, Australia — Australia’s Parliament voted overwhelmingly to legalize same-sex marriage on Thursday, overcoming years of conservative resistance to enact change that the public had made clear that it wanted.
The final approval in the House of Representatives, with just four votes against the bill, came three weeks after a national referendum showed strong public support for gay marriage. The Senate passed the legislation last week.
“This belongs to us all,” Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, a longtime supporter of same-sex marriage who had previously failed to get it legalized, said on Thursday. “This is Australia: fair, diverse, loving and filled with respect. For every one of us this is a great day.”
"A handful of lawmakers tried to add amendments that they said were meant to safeguard religious freedoms for opponents of same-sex marriage, but their efforts failed. Mr. Turnbull noted that nothing in the legislation requires ministers or other celebrants to oversee weddings of gay couples or threatens the charity status of religious groups that oppose same-sex marriage, two concerns the lawmakers had raised."

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Temporary brothels in Britain

The Guardian has the story:

How ‘pop-up’ brothels transformed Britain’s suburban sex industry
MPs are investigating a surge in flats being used short-term for prostitution – but the women who work in them say they often have no safer option

"Last month, MPs launched an inquiry into the apparent rise of so-called “pop-up” or temporary brothels. The phenomenon, where sex workers use Airbnb, hotels, or short-term holiday lets as a work base, has caused concern among politicians and the police. But what is the reality for women working in brothels in Britain today, and what is driving them to work in temporary set-ups?
“People think we’re either in five-star hotels or we’re on flea-bitten mattresses with a line of men outside the door,” says Amy, a single mother who works in the north London brothel. “Both of those things are real, both of those things happen, but the vast majority of us are just somewhere in the middle. Demystifying it is really important.”
"After a year, she found her current place with two others. With CCTV and a panic alarm, she says the more permanent setup means she has better security measures: “I honestly can’t imagine working any other way now and it astounds me that what we’re doing is technically illegal.”
Still, she does not want to paint a rose-tinted picture of her new situation. “When [sex workers] are talking to the press, there’s a lot of pressure for us to be like, ‘Oh I love my job, everything’s great’ when it’s not great. It’s like any other job – you have good days and bad days. It’s just like being in any kind of office job, or a call centre, just with more nudity, and dildos everywhere,” she jokes.
"Like many sex workers, trust and communication with the police is a huge issue for her and her workmates. “At the moment, I have absolutely no trust in the police whatsoever,” she says. “You can literally go from being the victim, to being the criminal in a matter of minutes.”
"How the law stands
  • There are an estimated 72,800 sex workers operating in the UK.
  • In a study of 6,000 men, 11% reported paying for sex. More than a half of these said they paid for sex outside the UK.
  • The mortality rate for sex workwers is 12 times higher than average.
  • Keeping or managing a brothel is illegal under the 1956 Sexual Offences Act.
  • The sale and purchase of sexual services is legal in England and Wales, but certain related activities are not.
  • In 2015 Northern Ireland made it illegal to pay for sex. The first prosecution was in October 2017."

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Loss-of-earnings compensation for live organ donors in New Zealand

The New Zealand law has gone into effect:
Loss of earnings compensation for live organ donors

"The Ministry of Health will be implementing compensation for live organ donors from 5 December. People who donate a live organ will be fully recompensed for lost earnings for up to 12 weeks while they recover. This will be paid weekly following the donation surgery. In the past donors received some assistance in the form of a benefit for this.

‘Loss of income can put people off donating an organ,’ says Clare Perry, Group Manager Integrated Service Design at the Ministry of Health. ‘Removing financial barriers can be a big help in deciding to go-ahead with what is often a life-saving donation.

‘With most live organ donations being made to family members or friends, not having to worry about lost income makes things easier during a time that is already stressful.

‘Most people who donate an organ take between 10 days and six weeks to recover, but if the hospital specialist says you need longer the Ministry of Health will pay your lost earnings for up to 12 weeks so money is less of an issue over this time.

‘Travel and accommodation assistance is also available for people who may need to travel to have specialist medical tests associated with their organ donation surgery.’


"Additional information
· Between 2012 and 2016 there were 340 live kidney donations. [Source: Organ Donation New Zealand 2016 Annual Report]
· This number has increased each year and was 82 in 2016. [Source: Organ Donation New Zealand 2016 Annual Report]
· Over the same time period (between 2012 and 2016) there were 17 partial live liver donations. [Source: Organ Donation New Zealand 2016 Annual Report]
· 15 of these partial live liver donations were made to children. [Source: Organ Donation New Zealand 2016 Annual Report]
· Between 2011 and 2015, 151 kidney donations were made to blood relatives, with 165 to partners, in-laws, friends and others not directly related to the recipient. [Source: Australia and New Zealand Dialysis and Transplant Registry 39th Annual Report]
· In 2015 there were 2674 New Zealanders on dialysis. [Source: Australia and New Zealand Dialysis and Transplant Registry 39th Annual Report]"

HT: Frank McCormick

Monday, December 4, 2017

Voluntary participation in matching schemes--conference in March

 Here's the announcement and call for papers:

14th workshop Matching in Practice
March 16, 2018 @ 12:00 pm - March 17, 2018 @ 2:00 pm

keynote speaker will be Fuhito Kojima (Stanford). The topic for the policy roundtable will be “voluntary participation in matching schemes” (to be confirmed).

Scientific committee: Peter Biro (Hungarian Academy of Science), Juan Pereyra ( Universidad de la República) and Alex Westkamp (University of Cologne)

Call for papers: Interested participants should submit their papers to the scientific committee (Peter Biro, Juan Pereyra, Alex Westkamp) before January 31, 2018. The program will be announced shortly afterwards.

The academic market for operations researchers

Operations Academia is a relatively new website, organized by a postdoctoral fellow in his free time (see below) whose purpose is to provide a centralized information location for jobs and job candidates in Operations.

"This website is intended to appeal to any Operations academic (broadly defined), but particularly to those who are looking for information about this academic year's Operations Job Market. 
Specifically, are you a:
  • Candidate who has already accepted an academic placement? Let the rest of the operations community know about it by updating this form.
Or, were you on the Job Market last year? Help us further understand the process of finding an Academic placement in Operations (broadly defined), by taking our Annual Job Market Survey.
Suggestions on how to improve this website and organize our Job Market? Please submit here an idea and/ or vote for new features suggested by others. Or, otherwise contact us."


 "Our vision is to make the search for an academic job in Operations (and related areas) more efficient and transparent. We also aim to better understand the dynamics and research trends in our field to better inform: PhD Candidates, recently hired faculty members and hiring decision-makers, as well as prospective graduate Students who wish to apply to PhD Programmes in our field.
In this website you will find the first Job Market Survey ever conducted for Job Market Candidates in Operations Management/Research (and related areas), academic job postings, PhD Candidates looking for an academic positionconfirmed placements, and recently hired faculty members.
This website is supported by the MSOM Society of INFORMS and is owned and managed by Konstantinos I. Stouras, Post-doctoral Research Fellow, Operations Management, University of Virginia (Darden School of Business) in his free time. All inputs are posted by the academic community by verified individuals. We are always open for feedback and suggestions on how to improve this initiative; please post suggested improvements/comments, and vote for already existing ones to encourage their development."

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Internet dating while Muslim

The Guardian has the story: how the Yorkshire dating site transformed Muslim romance
It is one of the biggest dating sites in the world and after 17 years, it has has led to over 50,000 marriages.

"The UK site boasts nearly a million UK active users and the company is expanding internationally. (Traffic analysis suggests there are about 1.4m page views per month).Because it is in effect a marriage site rather than a dating site, it also claims a high rate of success. There have been 50,000 weddings, and counting.
"When Younis originally set up his website, the problems came from fundamentalists. “Back in the day we used to have death threats,” he says. “All from anonymous keyboard warriors. They would be like ‘it is haram [forbidden] to display photographs of women’. People would have seen their sister on there.”

"Younis was unfazed. Now, he says, he doesn’t hear of anyone who is against what they are doing, mainly because, he believes, “everyone knows someone the site has helped”.
"You don’t have to spend very long on to realise it is not Tinder. The options in creating a profile on the site require users to select their level of piety (Very religious/Somewhat religious/Prefer not to say) their sect (Shia/Sunni/Just Muslim) and appearance preferences (Hijab? Beard?).

“What we are not is this kind of swipe right, one-night stand kind of service,” Younis says. “People call it ‘halal dating’ and that’s fine. Halal means being wholesome and right in your faith.”

"About 10% of members join as a family. In those cases, traditionally the mums or the grannies use the site to do the matchmaking, Khan explains. What the company mostly promotes, though, is the opportunity to broaden that search as far as possible. The case studies on the site highlight couples who have crossed national and racial barriers to marry. “We are not or,” Younis suggests. There is an empowering impulse in this – and in the insistence that photographs must be full face. “Females who are fully covered don’t get in our galleries,” Khan says. “There is no point in having an image where you just see the eyes.”

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Limits of the market--conference in Paris (call for papers)

Interdisciplinary workshop (philosophy, law, economics)
September, 13-14, 2018 – University Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne
 With plenary lectures by Margaret Jane Radin and by Debra Satz.
 The aim of this workshop is to unite debates on the commodification of nature and body that usually take place in different academic worlds, specific to a culture (the Anglosphere, the European continent), a discipline (philosophy, law, economics) or an object (body, nature).
Philosophy, law, and political economy (as well as anthropology and sociology) have long been questioning what things can be sold (liberty, money, labor, land). This debate has been renewed in the 1980s, with the publication of Margaret Jane Radin’s Contested commodities in 1996, which has become a landmark in “commodification studies”. These studies do not deal with the role and desirability of the market in general, or of market societies, but focus on particular markets that might pose ethical, moral or social problems (for example for organs, babies, or environmental services), in practice or in discourse. Philosophers, like Debra Satz with her “noxious markets”, and economists, like Alvin Roth with his “repugnant markets”, also contributed to these studies. The issue is the normative limit of the scope of the market in capitalist societies, not only in terms of a yes or no question, but also in terms of the limitations imposed to this kind of markets (incomplete commodification).
This debate, or at least this self-identified field, is mainly driven by the Anglosphere. The same questions are however posed in different cultural, theoretical and cultural frameworks. In France, we can mention for example works by Marie-Angèle Hermitte in law, by Philippe Steiner in economics, and by Catherine Larrère in philosophy. One of the aims of this workshop is to compare and to confront these different traditions of thought. The scientific committee will also encourage the discussion of two kinds of specific markets: nature and the environment on the one hand, and the body, its parts and products, on the other. Specifically, do nature and the body constitute particular cases of commodification? Does the debate on the financialization and valuation of environmental services share characteristics with that on body commodification? The Committee will favour communications in philosophy, law, economics, and political theory; as well as interdisciplinary communications. Finally, communications on the history and interpretation of these ideas, or analysing the political discourses on commodification, are also welcome.
We will have the pleasure to welcome Margaret Jane Radin (University of Toronto) and Debra Satz (Stanford University) for keynote lectures as well as invited panelists: Valérie Boisvert (University of Lausanne), Laurence Brunet (Cochin APHP), Stéphanie Hennette-Vauchez (University Paris Nanterre), Marie-Angèle Hermitte (CNRS, EHESS), Florence Jany-Catrice (University of Lille), Catherine Larrère (University Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne), Jennifer Merchant (University Paris 2 Panthéon-Assas), Christine Noiville (CNRS), John O’Neill (University of Manchester), Jean-Fabien Spitz (University Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne), Philippe Steiner (University Paris Sorbonne).

Languages: French and English

Submission of proposals (600 words) before 29 January 2018 to

Friday, December 1, 2017

New AEA Journal--American Economic Review: Insights

The American Economic Society announces a new journal today: American Economic Review: Insights

Here's the call for papers:

The newest journal of the American Economic Association, American Economic Review: Insights, invites submissions.


Amy Finkelstein, Massachusetts Institute of Technology


Pete Klenow, Stanford University
Larry Samuelson, Yale University

Board of Editors

Alberto Abadie, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Andrew Atkeson, University of California, Los Angeles
Markus K. Brunnermeier, Princeton University
Eric Budish, University of Chicago
Pascaline Dupas, Stanford University
Paul J. Healy, Ohio State University
Nathaniel Hendren, Harvard University
Hilary Hoynes, University of California, Berkeley
Navin Kartik, Columbia University
Ted O'Donoghue, Cornell University
Andrés Rodríguez-Clare, University of California, Berkeley
Jesse Shapiro, Brown University
Andrzej Skrzypacz, Stanford University
Jón Steinsson, Columbia University
AER: Insights is designed to be a top-tier, general-interest economics journal publishing papers of the same quality and importance as those in the AER, but devoted to publishing papers with important insights that can be conveyed succinctly.

Papers in economics have grown substantially in length over the last four decades, leaving little scope to publish the important paper whose central contribution can be concisely presented. Yet, sometimes the most important findings are those that require little room. Paul Samuelson's landmark paper on the efficient provision of public goods was only three pages in the 1954 Review of Economics and Statistics. Further afield from economics, Watson and Crick's discovery of the Double Helix was presented in less than two pages in the 1953 Nature.

AER: Insights will target the turnaround times of the most efficient journals in our profession––with an aim to get all first responses within three months at most. More novelly, first responses will be either a reject or a "conditional accept," with no lengthy responses to referees required nor a second round of comments from referees on the revision. The Editor's requests with a conditional accept will be limited to expositional changes only; to self-enforce this norm, editors will ask for revisions back from the authors within eight weeks. Short papers. Short revisions.

Submissions must be <=6,000 words and have a maximum of five exhibits (figures or tables). The word count is based on the main text, including footnotes but excluding references, title, author names, abstract, the acknowledgement footnote, exhibit notes, keywords, and JEL codes. For reference, in Microsoft Word, 6,000 words is about 15 double-spaced pages of text using 11 point Times New Roman font and 1 inch margins and with additional pages for exhibits and references. As another point of reference, 6,000 words of text is about one-third the length of a typical AER article in recent years. The abstract should be <= 100 words.

Length limits on submissions and revisions will be strictly enforced. Online appendix materials are allowed (of unlimited length); but if referees or the Editor do not feel able to evaluate the essential elements of the paper from the main text alone, that will be grounds for rejection.

The aim of AER: Insights is to provide a high quality outlet for important yet concise contributions to economics, both empirical and theoretical.

To view the full Submission Guidelines for AER: Insights, please visit To submit your paper, please go to Please contact Managing Editor, Kelly Markel (, with any questions.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Organ donation and transplantation data from around the world

The International Registry in Organ Donation and Transplantation  maintains an informative international database.
Here's a list of the files they show...


Wednesday, November 29, 2017

The welfare effects of centralized school choice in NYC, by Abdulkadiroglu, Agarwal and Pathak in the AER

The Abdulkadiroglu, Agarwal and Pathak paper on the effects of school choice in NYC has now come out in the December 2017 AER ( 107(12): 3635–3689).

They find substantial welfare effects in moving from NYC's old decentralized high school choice system (in which individual schools made uncoordinated acceptance decisions, so some students received multiple offers while others got none) to the stable matching system (using the deferred acceptance algorithm with single tie-breaking) now used. They don't find big gains from trying to reach a student optimal stable matching by revising the tie-breaking decisions.

The Welfare Effects of Coordinated Assignment:Evidence from the New York City High School Match
By Atila Abdulkadiroglu, Nikhil Agarwal, and Parag A. Pathak

"Coordinated  single-offer  school  assignment  systems  are  a  popular  education  reform.  We  show  that  uncoordinated  offers  in  NYC’s  school  assignment  mechanism  generated  mismatches.  One-third  of  applicants were unassigned after the main round and later administratively placed at less desirable schools. We evaluate the effects of the new coordinated mechanism based on deferred acceptance using estimated student preferences. The new mechanism achieves 80 per-cent of the possible gains from a no-choice neighborhood extreme to a utilitarian benchmark. Coordinating offers dominates the effects of further algorithm modifications. Students most likely to be previously administratively  assigned  experienced  the  largest  gains  in  welfare  and subsequent achievement."

Here's the ungated working paper

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

The market for English language editing: Caveat emptor

Those of us who can publish in our native language are fortunate, and so there is a useful market for editing services for non-native speakers (and, frankly, everyone can sometimes profit from a little editorial assistance).

But buyers beware. Here's the beginning of an ad I received by email:

"Research Manuscript Editing Services
 -Are you from a non-English speaking country but wishes to publish your article in an English journal?
-Has your manuscript been rejected for publication due to bad English?

-Does your article requires editing and proofreading but do not have the time to revise it?"

Monday, November 27, 2017

Enticing new graduates to become prison guards, British edition

In the U.S., new college graduates are tempted into teaching in under-served schools through Teach for America, and in Britain through Teach First.  Here's a program for prison guards: Unlocked Graduates

Here's a story from The Guardian:

The graduates training as prison officers: 'People think we just turn keys and shout orders'
These are volatile times for prisons in England and Wales, with overcrowding and record levels of violence. Can a new scheme that aims to do what Teach First did in schools change things from the inside?

"Jack is one of the first cohort of Unlocked Graduates, a new, two-year prison-officer training programme modelled on the phenomenally successful Teach Firstscheme, which takes ambitious graduates and, after minimal training, parachutes them into inner-city schools where they are tasked with raising the aspirations of some of the most deprived children in the country.

"Teach First has been the biggest graduate recruiter for the past three years, training more than 1,400 graduates each year. Almost 60% remain in teaching with the rest going out into the world, tasked with building a movement of people leading efforts to tackle educational inequality in schools and beyond. About a fifth of teachers in low-income schools are now Teach First graduates, around 70%of them from elite Russell Group universities. Unlocked Graduates works in the same way and hopes to mirror Teach First’s success inside prisons – and outside, too.
The prison system is, without question, in urgent need of help. Two-thirds of prisons in England and Wales are overcrowded, with the population rising by more than 1,200 places in the 13 weeks since May. It is now higher than at any other point in the past four years. Ministry of Justice (MoJ) figures show 68% of prisons are housing more inmates than their “certified normal accommodation” – the limit for ensuring a “good, decent standard”, with some more than 50% over capacity.
"According to a report last month by the HM Inspectorate of Prisons, prisoners are living in cells that are too small, with inadequate ventilation, damaged furniture and unscreened, unhygienic toilets, for up to 23 hours a day. And with almost half of all prisoners returning to prison within a year of release, it is clear that more needs to be done to break the cycle of reoffending."

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Strategies to Increase the Donor Pool

Here's a survey:
Strategies to Increase the Donor Pool, by Michael A. Rees and David E. Fumo

Kidney Transplantation, Bioengineering and Regeneration
Kidney Transplantation in the Regenerative Medicine Era, 2017, Pages 59–83 Chapter 6

Kidney transplantation is victim of its own success. Due to its excellent outcome, indications have expanded and more and more patients are registered in the waiting list. However, the number of available organs has not been able to rise at the same pace, and this has led to a dramatic increase of the mortality and dropout rate of patients while on the waiting list. This chapter will illustrate the strategies that are currently being devised and implemented in order to increase the supply of transplantable kidneys.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Kidney disease in developing countries

Kidney disease is a very big deal in poor countries as well as rich ones.

Kidney Transplantation in Developing Countries
by Goce Spasovski, Mirela Busic, Mirjana S. Matovinovic, Francis L. Delmonico

in Kidney Transplantation, Bioengineering and Regeneration
Kidney Transplantation in the Regenerative Medicine Era, Chapter 49, 2017, Pages 687–698
Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is a major global health burden and a public health priority. Because of its high prevalence (approximately 1 in 10 adults worldwide), CKD is associated with the risk of end stage renal disease (ESRD), cardiovascular disease, and premature mortality. A substantial proportion of patients with ESRD in developing countries may die without accessing renal replacement therapy. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that only 10% of those in need undergo kidney transplantation annually. Developing countries have a responsibility to address the organ donation and transplantation needs of its people, with a self-sufficiency based on resources obtained within a country or by regulated regional cooperation. If self-sufficiency in donation and transplantation is to be achieved, a comprehensive program must include a framework of national legislation with regulatory oversight; a program of deceased donation integrated into the national health system; an ethical practice of live donation that assures donor safety; donation and transplantation practices harmonized to global WHO ethical standards; and a program of preventive medicine that will avert an expanding population of patients with CKD.

Friday, November 24, 2017

An 8-person chain in Chicago, with news coverage

A non-directed donor chain at Northwestern, with pictures:
U.S. News Sits In as Surgeons Carry Out an 8-Person Kidney Exchange
"Four people received new leases on life via the transplant 'chain' at Chicago's Northwestern Memorial Hospital."

"Such "paired exchanges," first performed in the U.S. at Rhode Island Hospital in 2000, have taken off in the last seven years or so as a way to shorten what can otherwise be a long wait for a healthy kidney. Some 97,000 people are now on the waiting list maintained by the United Network for Organ Sharing, a nonprofit that manages the federal organ transplant system; the average wait time is generally about three to five years. That's too long for many people: About 12 die each day as they hope for a kidney to turn up. A swap like this one effectively fast-tracks the process. At Northwestern, the period between joining the exchange program and surgery typically varies from about two to six months depending on the difficulty of matching.

"Today, 20 to 30 percent of living donor kidney transplants here are done through the paired exchange program, mostly in four- to eight-person swaps. Each week, clinicians run a computer program to explore potential matches from among the incompatible pairs in the system. "There are actually multiple potential solutions that we can look through," says John Friedewald, a transplant nephrologist and medical director of the kidney transplant program. Northwestern also participates in the UNOS kidney paired donation program, which includes roughly 250 paired donors and candidates across the country. The National Kidney Registry, another nonprofit organization, facilitates hundreds of exchanges a year nationwide. In 2015, the NKR organized the longest swap to date, a 70-person chain involving teams at 26 hospitals.
"Condreva "was very hard to find a match for, so this was sort of a needle in the haystack," Friedewald says. But early this summer, when the altruistic donor approached Northwestern and was determined to be an answer for Condreva, that kidney was the first domino that allowed the other matches to be made. U.S. News visited Northwestern Memorial in late June to attend the surgeries – and the celebration days later when the donors and recipients met."