Thursday, July 20, 2017


The celebration of Pradeep Dubey and Yair Tauman is going on now.

Here's the program.

Declining racial disparities in deceased-donor kidney allocation

Here's an article from the June issue of Health Affairs, reporting that racial disparities among deceased-donor kidney recipients seem to have declined since the introduction of a modified allocation procedure.

New Kidney Allocation System Associated With Increased Rates Of Transplants Among Black And Hispanic Patients

  1. Rachel E. Patzer8,*
+Author Affiliations
  1. 1Taylor A. Melanson is a doctoral student in the Laney Graduate School, Emory University, in Atlanta, Georgia.
  2. 2Jason M. Hockenberry is an associate professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management, Rollins School of Public Health, at Emory University.
  3. 3Laura Plantinga is an assistant professor in the Department of Medicine, Emory University School of Medicine.
  4. 4Mohua Basu is a data analyst at the Emory University School of Medicine.
  5. 5Stephan Pastan is an associate professor in the Department of Medicine, Emory University School of Medicine.
  6. 6Sumit Mohan is an assistant professor in the Division of Nephrology, Department of Medicine, and in the Department of Epidemiology at Columbia University Medical Center, in New York City.
  7. 7David H. Howard is an assistant professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management, Rollins School of Public Health, at Emory University.
  8. 8Rachel E. Patzer ( is an assistant professor in the Department of Surgery and Department of Medicine at the Emory University School of Medicine, and in the Department of Epidemiology at the Rollins School of Public Health.
  1. Health Affvol. 36no. 6 1078-1085


Before the 2014 implementation of a new kidney allocation system by the United Network for Organ Sharing, white patients were more likely than black or Hispanic patients to receive a kidney transplant. To determine the effect of the new allocation system on these disparities, we examined data for 179,071 transplant waiting list events in the period June 2013–September 2016, and we calculated monthly transplantation rates (34,133 patients actually received transplants). Implementation of the new system was associated with a narrowing of the disparities in the average monthly transplantation rates by 0.29 percentage point for blacks compared to whites and by 0.24 percentage point for Hispanics compared to whites, which resulted in both disparities becoming nonsignificant after implementation of the new system.

From the paper:
"The United Network for Organ Sharing implemented a new kidney allocation system in December 2014,26 in part to address long-standing racial/ethnic disparities in the allocation of deceased donor kidneys. The primary factor for determining a patient’s priority level on the waiting list for a kidney transplant is how long he or she has been waiting. Under the new system, the starting point for calculating waiting time was changed from the date the patient was put on the waiting list to the earliest of either that date or the date of the patient’s first regular dialysis. This change was expected to benefit minorities because blacks and Hispanics spend more time on dialysis before being put on the waiting list, compared to white patients.27,28 The new system made additional changes meant to improve access to transplantation, including making it easier for patients with a highly sensitized immune system to receive transplants and increasing the sharing of kidneys across donor service area boundaries. It is important to note that this policy targets the allocation of deceased-donor kidneys, not of live-donor kidneys."

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Blackmail has something in common with transactions that become repugnant when money is added

Blackmail isn't what I usually mean when I speak of a repugnant transaction, because it isn't a voluntary transaction that third parties wish to prevent, it's a crime that someone assaults someone else with. But, just as some praiseworthy transactions (like donating a kidney to someone who needs a transplant) can become repugnant when money is added (both demanding compensation and compensating the donor of a kidney for transplant is a crime almost everywhere), the crime of blackmail involves combining actions that are otherwise legal but that together are criminal.

For example, if someone knows something about you that you would like to conceal, it is quite often legal for them to reveal it to interested parties, or even in a biography of you they might write (e.g. your past arrests, affairs, political affiliations and contributions, etc.). It would also be quite legal for you to approach someone and commission them to write something about you, including something over which you might have editorial control. But if someone proposes to combine these things, by threatening to write bad things about you unless you pay him money, that is in many cases the criminal act of blackmail.

More on blackmail and it's subtleties (e.g. I can't demand that you pay me if you don't want me to reveal that you are a thief, but I could threaten to report you the police if you don't pay me for something you stole from me...) in this interesting column at the Washington Post's Volokh Conspiracy:
Blackmail is surprisingly hard to define

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Supervised drug injection sites--Harm reduction

One of the problems with intravenous drug addition is that addicts can overdose and die. A number of North American cities are trying to combat this by opening supervised drug injection sites, meant to be safe places to shoot up, staffed with one or more healthcare workers and social workers.

From the Globe and Mail:
Montreal gets federal approval for two supervised injection sites

"Supervised injection sites provide a safe space for addicts and provide them with the necessary equipment — sterile syringes, gauze pads and the like — for safe injections.

"The users themselves bring their drugs, the sites pride themselves on being anonymous and confidential, and the users are accompanied on site by nurses and community and psycho-social workers.

"The Montreal sites are modelled after Vancouver-based Insite, which was the first city in North America to have a legal, supervised injection site beginning in 2003.

"While critics say the sites encourage drug use, experience has shown they reduce the number of overdose deaths and transmission of hepatitis C and HIV."

Here's a 2010 article from the Canadian Medical Association Journal:
Vancouver’s supervised injection facility challenges Canada’s drug laws
Kathleen Dooling, MD MPH and Michael Rachlis, MD LLD

Here's a 2008 article in the British Columbia Medical Journal by a former Vancouver Chief of Police (he would prefer strict enforcement rather than harm reduction):
Supervised injection sites—a view from law enforcement
Issue: BCMJ, Vol. 50, No. 3, April 2008, page(s) 132-134
Jamie Graham

Here's a 1995 Editorial in the American Journal of Public Health
Editorial: Harm Reduction-A Framework for Incorporating Science into Drug Policy by Don C. Des Jarlais

And of course, all this is made topical by the opioid epidemic:
Why opioid deaths are this generation’s Aids crisis
"The soaring numbers of deaths from overdoses in the US and UK requires a radical and fast rethink of drugs policy"

Monday, July 17, 2017

21st conference of the International Federation of Operational Research Societies (IFORS): July 17-21 2017 in Quebec City

Here's the IFORS conference web page.
"Welcome to ... the 21st Conference of the International Federation of Operational Research Societies...“OR/Analytics for a better world”.

I'll be speaking Monday on Marketplace Design

Sunday, July 16, 2017

How (not) to measure school choice

Here's a post I just looked at from The National Center for the Study of Privatization in Education at Teachers College at Columbia (posted in April). It is about more and less illuminating ways to discuss how popular New York City high schools are, as reflected in how often they are on students' rank order lists, how many students they make offers to, and how many seats they have.

The Real Data for NYC High School Admissions

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Who Gets What and Why in French: Les marchés où l'argent ne fait pas la loi

The French translation of my book Who Gets What and Why has recently become available...

Les marchés où l'argent ne fait pas la loi
Des conceptions innovantes pour des appariements efficaces
Alvin Roth
Traducteur : Jean-François Caulier
2017 - 288 pages
("Markets where money does not make the law
Innovative designs for efficient matching")

"Prix Nobel d’économie, Alvin Roth dévoile les règles souvent surprenantes régissant un vaste nombre d’activités dans lesquelles l’argent ne joue pas ou peu de rôle. C’est le territoire des marchés d’appariement, où « vendeurs » et « acheteurs » doivent se choisir l’un l’autre. Dans cet ouvrage, il révèle les marchés d’appariement cachés autour de nous et nous apprend à reconnaître un bon appariement, pour faire ainsi des choix plus avisés et subtils."

Friday, July 14, 2017

Global Kidney Exchange at Mexico's Museo Interactive de Economia

Ivan Carillo's reporting on global kidney exchange will be featured today at Mexico's Museo Interactivo de Economía*

The Thirst Journal. How Can Economy Save Lives?

Cinema Because of MIDE’s Anniversary

Produced by the journalist Iván Carrillo, it tells the story of Marisol Robles, publisher and poet from Veracruz, who was diagnosed with kidney failure on June 28th, 2011 and who, after a failed first attempt of kidney transplant, recorded the vicissitudes of her illness in her blog: The Thirst Journal.
The documentary talks about how the encounter and collaboration with Mike Rees, MD, from Toledo University Medical Center (Ohio) and the professor in economy of Stanford University Alvin Roth, will result in a series of innovations in the field of medicine through economy, revolutionizing the form kidneys are exchanged in the world. This innovation will become an important part of the merits mentioned on 2012 for Alvin Roth to receive the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences.


July 14 2017
Friday , 10:00 - 12:00 hrs.
Free admission
Here's another announcement: the film will celebrate the Museum's 11th anniversary
Festejará el MIDE onceavo aniversario con proyección de documental
*From their website:
El Museo Interactivo de Economía (MIDE) surgió como una iniciativa del Banco de México para ser un espacio de divulgación de la economía y las finanzas.

Es el primer museo del mundo dedicado a explicar temas de economía, finanzas y desarrollo sustentable con las más avanzadas tecnologías, que ofrece a sus visitantes experiencias divertidas y relevantes, en un ambiente que estimula las emociones y el aprendizaje.

Google Translate:
The Interactive Museum of Economics (MIDE) emerged as an initiative of the Bank of Mexico to be a space for the dissemination of economics and finance.

It is the first museum in the world dedicated to explaining economics, finance and sustainable development with the most advanced technologies, offering visitors fun and relevant experiences in an environment that stimulates emotions and learning.