Friday, March 24, 2017

Bob Wilson and Game Theory: two very short videos

In connection with Bob Wilson's 2017 CME Group-MSRI prize, here's a short (2 minute)video in which Roger Myerson, Phil Reny, Bob Wilson, David Eisenbud, and I respond to the question "What is game theory?"  (Phil also remarks on what role it has played in his long happy marriage...)



And there's another short video (which I couldn't embed), talking about Bob Wilson, at this link to the CME prize page (scroll down til you see the game theory video, it's right next to it):
Robert Wilson Awarded the 2016 CME Group-MSRI Prize in Innovative Quantitative Applications

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Match Day and the medical match as an economic game by Moblab

Not only is the medical Match important for doctors, now there's an in-class game from Moblab which econ instructors can use to introduce matching. Here's a post about it:

A Personal Note on Match Day and our KR Matching Game.
17 Mar 2017/ by Doug Norton 

Germany en route to annul historical convictions of gay men

Deutsche Welle has the story:
Germany set to annul historical convictions of gay men

"German men convicted on the basis of a 19th century law criminalizing homosexuality now have a chance at getting late justice in the wake of an expert study commissioned by the Anti-Discrimination Agency.
Their supposed crime was the same during the Nazi era as it was in the federal republic founded in 1949: They loved other men and had homosexual sex.
Those who were caught engaging in homosexual acts or who were denounced as homosexuals were spared no mercy by the state. The law containing the infamous Paragraph 175 outlawing sexual relations between men dates back to the 19th century, but it was applied especially zealously under Nazi rule. The law remained intact even after 1945. Homosexuality was decriminalized in 1969, but Paragraph 175 was not abolished until 1994.
By that time, more than 50,000 men had been convicted for being gay, something that "violated the very core of their human dignity," said Christine Lüders, the head of the government's Anti-Discrimination Authority, in Berlin on Wednesday. At her side was Martin Burgi of the Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich. The legal expert has compiled a study on the rehabilitation of homosexuals convicted under the law. He's confident it can be done, saying there's no legal barrier to rehabilitating the men.
...
"For laypeople, it's hard to understand why men convicted under Paragraph 175 by the Nazis have been rehabilitated since 2002, while verdicts handed down in the post-war era are still being upheld. The logic is as appalling as it is banal: The Nazi dictatorship was declared an unjust state; the Federal Republic of Germany, on the other hand, is based on democratic principles. That means the men who had the misfortune to be found guilty of homosexuality in the post-war era still have criminal records.
But Burgi says that "collective rehabilitation" of those affected by the law can be achieved with the help of social and democratic principles."

*************

Here's the Associated Press story from ABC: German Cabinet OKs plan to annul homosexuality convictions

"Germany's Cabinet on Wednesday approved a bill that would annul the convictions of thousands of gay men under a law criminalizing homosexuality that was applied zealously in post-World War II West Germany.

The decision also clears the way for compensation for those still alive who were convicted under the so-called Paragraph 175 outlawing sexual relations between men.

The legislation was introduced in the 19th century, toughened under Nazi rule and retained in that form by West Germany, which convicted some 50,000 men between 1949 and 1969.

Homosexuality was decriminalized in 1969 but the legislation wasn't taken off the books entirely until 1994.

The bill approved Wednesday by Chancellor Angela Merkel's Cabinet of conservatives and center-left Social Democrats still requires parliamentary approval. "
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This echoes recent events in England: see my earlier post on that

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Unmarried sex is a crime in Abu Dhabi

The Telegraph has the story:
Expat couple arrested in Abu Dhabi for sex outside of marriage

"An expatriate couple have been detained in Abu Dhabi for almost six weeks after being arrested for having sex outside of marriage.

South African Emlyn Culverwell, 29, took his 27-year-old Ukrainian fiancée, Iryna Nohai, to a medical centre in the UAE city after she developed stomach cramps.

The doctor said she was pregnant and informed authorities after they could not provide marriage certificates. They were first brought to Yas Police Station, before being moved to Al Wathba Prison."   

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Matching shipping containers to shippers

A matching problem that John Vande Vate is thinking about has to do with the large number of shipping containers that travel empty to their next destination after being unloaded. "Street turns" would match them to shipments near their previous destination.

Here's his report on the considerable upside to improved matching:
e‐Street‐Turns:TheEasyStreettoGreen

Monday, March 20, 2017

Congestion in SF public school choice

One thing that computerized school choice is supposed to do is reduce congestion that sometimes stops school districts from matching students to schools in a timely way. San Francisco has a computerized system, but they are nevertheless running into congestion this year. SFGate has the story:
High anxiety as SF public school assignments run late, By Nanette Asimov

"A school district glitch has parents biting their nails in San Francisco this week.
Thousands of dollars are on the line for families that are prepared to lay out hefty deposits for private schools by this week’s deadlines — but hope they won’t have to if they can get into a public school of their choice.
The trouble is, the San Francisco Unified School District may not be able to tell them about their public school options, from elementary through high school, before private-school down payments are due Wednesday through Friday. The district missed its March 17 deadline for sending out school-assignment letters because of “unforeseen staffing emergencies,” said spokeswoman Gentle Blythe.
“We have people who haven’t slept in days” trying to make sure that 83,000 school options for 14,000 students are all correct, Blythe said, adding that she can’t reveal more about the problem because of employee confidentiality.
...
"The deadline for private high school deposits is Wednesday at noon for parents applying for financial aid and Friday at noon for those paying full price. Private elementary and middle schools have a Thursday deadline. And although most private schools coordinated their deposit due dates with the public school district this year, the district’s glitch has thrown the careful planning into disarray."
****************

Update: SF school-assignment letters to be mailed out Monday night  By Nanette Asimov Updated 4:19 pm, Monday, March 20, 2017

"The San Francisco district sends out public-school assignments by U.S. mail because “the letters provide the documentation families need to register at school sites and serves to further verify their address,” spokeswoman Gentle Blythe said.
However, parents facing an imminent private-school deadline who haven’t gotten a letter by Tuesday can email enrollinschool@sfusd.edu.
“We will do what we can to help you after March 21,” says a notice on the district’s website."

Sunday, March 19, 2017

A 5 pair internal kidney exchange at Ohio State

US News and World Report has the story
A five-way kidney exchange was successfully completed at Ohio State University's Wexner Medical Center.

"Rimmer and DeVoe were part of a five-way kidney exchange at Ohio State on Tuesday. All five recipients had a family member or friend willing to donate to them, but each was incompatible.
...
"More than 98,000 people in the United States, including about 2,200 in Ohio, are waiting for kidneys. Ohio State was the site of 209 kidney transplants in 2016, and roughly 40 percent were from living donors. A goal is to boost both numbers, said Washburn, who operated on two of the recipients, including Rimmer.

The five-way kidney exchange is the second largest of such procedures performed solely at Ohio State. Most such "internal" exchanges are smaller, but the university's largest, in 2011, involved 12 patients and six transplants. This week's exchange initially included 16 people, but one person was not well, so three pairs had to drop out.

Since 2010, 60 kidney transplants have been performed at Ohio State through similar internal exchange groups. Surgeons there also perform about 10 transplants annually through "external" exchanges that involve other hospitals."

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Mohammad Akbarpour on Iran's kidney market

My colleague Mohammad Akbarpour at Stanford GSB is featured in their newsletter.  

He thinks about kidney transplantation from a number of different angles...here's a snippet.

Is It Ever OK to Sell (or Buy) a Kidney?

"Iran’s paid kidney market emerged after the country’s revolution at the end of the 1970s. In the early ’80s, foreign sanctions against the government inhibited its ability to get dialysis machinery. The number of Iranians needing a kidney transplant, however, kept increasing, so in 1988 the government organized a system that regulated and funded kidney transplantation. Their system included compensation for donors.
Officials euphemistically described the money given to each donor as a “gift,” says economist Mohammad Akbarpour, an assistant professor of economics at Stanford Graduate School of Business, who, has been working with several colleagues to study Iran’s market and unpaid kidney exchange markets globally. “They were paying for it, but using different words,” says Akbarpour. The system worked so well that the kidney transplant wait list in Iran was nearly eliminated by 1999.
“We have this discussion in the West about what would happen if you have a paid market for kidneys,” says Akbarpour. “The expectation has been that poor people will be selling their kidneys to rich people. But the debate has been largely based on speculations, as opposed to evidence.”
Akbarpour looked at five years’ worth of data about kidney sales and transplantation in the country, and his preliminary findings show that the average wealth of those buying kidneys is almost exactly the same as the average wealth of Iranians. Most of the payment for each transplant comes from the patient, not the government.
“It’s not just rich people who can buy a kidney in Iran,” he says. “Even poor people find the money for it, because it’s so valuable. There are also charities they can tap.”
But one suspected consequence of a cash market for kidneys did turn out to be true: Poor people sell kidneys far more than any other economic group. In Iran, most kidneys come from those whose incomes are in the bottom 25% of earners."