Monday, December 5, 2016

The human side of kidney exchange: video from NAS (5 minutes)

This short (5 min) video is the first in a series From Research To Reward  by the National Academy of Sciences about the human side of the benefits from science.  It mostly follows a married, incompatible pair through their kidney exchange transplants, as part of a chain organized by the Alliance for Paired Donation (APD).
This film is the first part of the series  
"The Matchmaker: An Economist Tackles Kidney Exchange from The Academies on Vimeo.
"When Fielding Daniel and his wife Amy discovered that it would take five years for him to to be matched with a kidney donor, they were devastated. They launched a desperate search for a life-saving solution that led them to an unexpected savior - a market economist [then] at Harvard University.
Learn more at

"This short film is the first in the series From Research To Reward which examines the impact of social science research on our lives. It was created by Redglass Pictures for The National Academy of Sciences.

"A film by Sarah Klein and Tom Mason
Director of Photography Jon Kasbe
Music by  Ryan Sayward Whittier
Motion Graphics by  Kathleen Chee
Special thanks to: Dr. Alvin Roth. Amy and Fielding Daniel, Nobel Media, Dr. Michael Rees"

The video has an animated artist's impression of the 2004 paper "Kidney Exchange" by Roth, Sonmez and Unver in the Quarterly Journal of Economics.

It also has a shout out to Susan Rees, the transplant coordinator at the APD. I've written before about the importance of the nurses and social workers who act as transplant coordinators.

You can also link to the video at

That last link also has a previously published companion story that I blogged about earlier:
Matching Kidney Donors with Those Who Need Them—and Other Explorations in Economics

The chain in which the Daniels participated was featured on the front page of the December 25, 2011 issue of Parade magazine and was started by non-directed donor Deb Shearer.

Here's that story: The Miracle of Life: How One Woman Turned Tragedy into the Ultimate Gift

For kidney exchange history buffs, here's my 2009 post about of the first, pioneering non-simultaneous kidney exchange chain, organized by Dr Mike Rees, who founded the APD: the original paper is here, in the NEJM: Rees, Michael A., Jonathan E. Kopke, Ronald P. Pelletier, Dorry L. Segev, Matthew E. Rutter, Alfredo J. Fabrega, Jeffrey Rogers, Oleh G. Pankewycz, Janet Hiller, Alvin E. Roth, Tuomas Sandholm, Utku Ünver, and Robert A. Montgomery, “A Non-Simultaneous Extended Altruistic Donor Chain,” New England Journal of Medicine, 360;11, March 12, 2009

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Matching in Budapest, Dec 14-15

101 years of matching in Hungary will be the subject of two matching conferences are coming up in Budapest.
On Dec 14, 100 years of matching theory in Hungary.  Here is the conference program.

And on Dec 15:
Programme  (also here)
9:00-10:00Keynote presentation: Utku Unver (Boston College)
Efficient and Incentive Compatible Liver Exchange
10:00-10:30Coffee break
10:30-12:30Session 1
First Choice-Maximizing School Choice Mechanisms, by Timo Mennle (University of Zurich)
School Choice with Voucher, by Mustafa Afacan (Sabanci University)
Iterative Versus Standard Deferred Acceptance: Experimental Evidence, by Rustam Hakimov (WZB Berlin)
14:00-15:00Session 2
Testing different cardinal matching mechanisms in the field, by  Alexander Nesterov (Higher School of Economics, St. Petersburg)
Hungarian secondary school and higher education admissions data in the Databank, by Zoltán Hermann (Hungarian Academy of Sciences)
15:00-16:00Policy roundtable: Course allocation
Estelle Cantillon (Université Libre de Bruxelles) and Utku Unver (Boston College)
16:00-16:30Coffee break
16:30-18:30Session 3
Team Formation as an Incentive Device, by Xiaocheng Hu (University of Southampton)
Assignment maximisation, by Inacio Bo (WZB Berlin)
Refugee resettlement, by Alex Teytelboym (University of Oxford)
In November, the Hungarian Academy of Sciences also hosted a
Workshop on Future Directions in Computational Social Choice, which contained papers on stable matching by Ágnes Cseh: Popular Matchings and Zsuzsanna Jankó: Various Stable Matching Concepts.

Friday, December 2, 2016

New Zealand's new Compensation for Live Organ Donors Bill

Here's the link to the new New Zealand legislation on removing disincentives from kidney donation, sent by  Frank McCormick.

Compensation for Live Organ Donors Bill (formerly titled Financial Assistance for Live Organ Donors Bill)
The purpose of this Act is to remove a financial deterrent to the donation of organs by live donors.

9Who are qualifying donors
A person is a qualifying donor in relation to a donor surgery if, on application under Part 3, the Director-General is satisfied that—
the person will forgo earnings as a result of taking unpaid leave or otherwise ceasing employment to allow for his or her recuperation from the surgery; and
both the donor surgery and the surgery to implant the organ will be carried out in New Zealand; and
the recipient of the organ is eligible to receive services funded under the New Zealand Public Health and Disability Act 2000; and
the organ will be collected, implanted, and dealt with lawfully.
For the purposes of subsection (1)(d), the Director-General may assume the organ will be collected, implanted, and dealt with lawfully in the absence of information to the contrary.

Entitlement to earnings compensation while recuperating

10Qualifying donors entitled to earnings compensation for up to 12 weeks while recuperating


Thursday, December 1, 2016

Public lecture at Rice University, Dec 2

I'll be giving the RISE Lecture at Rice (RISE = The Rice Initiative for the Study of Economics).

Here are some other links with logistics (the event is free, but they want to know who is coming...):

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Removing financial dis-incentives from kidney donation in New Zealand

Frank McCormick points out this encouraging story from New Zealand, about removing financial disincentives from donating a kidney:

'Recognising the heroes' - MP's bill will give organ donors full compo while they recover

"Mr Bishop has steered a Member's Bill into law that will pay donors 100 per cent of their income for up to eight weeks plus childcare costs if needed.

In 2015 there were 78 live donors who donated a kidney or part of their liver, and "while the rate of live and deceased donors is slowly increasing, New Zealand still has one of the lowest organ donation rates in the world.

"The evidence is pretty clear that financial barriers is one thing that people do think about," Mr Bishop said."

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Game theoretic questions and the Trump transition, on Bloomberg Surveillance

Early yesterday morning I was interviewed on Bloomberg Surveillance, about what I thought were some game theoretic questions facing the Trump transition and administration. We talked about cabinet choices as commitments, and trade and climate agreements as collective action problems...

My contribution starts at minute 7:30 and goes until 12:35.

Play episode