Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Matching patients to clinical trials

There are lots of clinical trials that a patient might be eligible for, but with many constraints on eligibility it isn't trivial to match patients to trials. has a story:
 Providers turn to technology to match patients to clinical trials

"Clinical trial recruitment has long been one of the most challenging areas of drug development, with the potential to add significant costs and delays. And as the medical field gains a greater understanding of cancer pathways and genomics, finding patients for these trials has become only more complex.

Now a number of technology companies are aiming to solve that problem by helping providers identify clinical trials for patients who might qualify.
"At any given time, there are as many as 180,000 ongoing clinical trials, each with its own specific inclusion and exclusion criteria. Meanwhile, physicians have only 15 minutes, in many cases, to explore these options with a patient"

HT: Itai Ashlagi

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Los Altos High School STEM Week. Oct 25-27

Here's the program for the Los Altos High School STEM week.
I'll be speaking Wednesday morning.

Monday, October 24, 2016

New York City high school admissions, signaling 'demonstrated interest,' in The Atlantic

High school admissions in NYC may end with a (well designed) deferred acceptance algorithm, but the process starts long before students and some schools submit their preference lists. The Atlantic writes about how it is hard to form preferences over high schools, and to signal them to the schools through 'demonstrated interest'...

Broken Promise of New York City's High-School Admissions System
Its high-school fair is designed to give attendees a leg up in the application process—but that’s not always the case
(The URL is more informative than the headline: )

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Raj Chetty at the LSE: How Can We Improve Economic Opportunities for Low-Income Children?

Lionel Robbins Memorial Lecture Series

How Can We Improve Economic Opportunities for Low-Income Children?

Date: Monday 24th, Tuesday 25th and Wednesday 26th October 2016
Time: 18:30 - 20:00
Venue: LSE Old Theatre
Speaker: Professor Raj Chetty
In this series of lectures, Raj Chetty will discuss findings from the Equality of Opportunity Project, which uses big data to develop new answers to this important and timely policy question. The presentation will show how children's opportunities to climb the income ladder vary substantially depending upon where they grow up.It will then identify factors that contribute to this geographic variation in opportunities for upward mobility. The talks will conclude by offering policy lessons for how social mobility and economic opportunity can be increased in the next generation.
Lecture 1: The Geography of Intergenerational Mobility
(Chair: Prof. Steve Machin, CEP Director)
Lecture 2: Policies to Improve Upward Mobility
(Chair: Prof. Robin Burgess, IGC & STICERD, LSE)
Lecture 3: Upward Mobility, Innovation, and Economic Growth
(Chair: Prof. Henrik Kleven, CEP, IGC & STICERD, LSE)
About the speaker: Raj Chetty is a Professor of Economics at Stanford University. His research combines empirical evidence and economic theory to help design more effective government policies. His work on tax policy, unemployment insurance, and education has been widely cited in media outlets and Congressional testimony.
This event is free and open to all with no ticket or pre-registration required. Entry is on a first come, first served basis
For more information on how to attend, please visit the LSE Events office webpage at:

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Airbnb faces regulatory headwinds in NY

The FT has the story:
Airbnb faces fight for survival in New York City
Governor set to sign legislation likely to end start-up’s business in Big Apple

"The online service, which connects owners of homes and flats with tourists and other renters in cities around the world, has often clashed with regulators which accuse the company of facilitating illegal hotel businesses and reducing affordable housing stock.

In New York, hotel unions and New York City officials have been particularly vociferous on the company’s failure to comply with a 2010 accommodation law that banned short-term rentals in Manhattan, but which is rarely enforced.

On Wednesday, Airbnb said that it wanted to pay taxes in New York, estimating that it could generate about $90m a year in the state under its new registration scheme. The company also proposed a new “three strikes” rule that would permanently ban hosts who broke the 2010 law more than three times.

The company has already reached agreements on collecting and remitting taxes with many other cities, including Paris, its largest market. In New York City, Airbnb hosts 46,000 flats and homes.

Like other such Silicon Valley start-ups that have disrupted traditional business models, Airbnb has been forced, often through confrontation, to become more responsive to local regulators and interest groups as it expands."

And, after the governor signed the bill,
Airbnb Sues Over New Law Regulating New York Rentals
"Hours after Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York signed a bill that would impose steep fines on Airbnb hosts who break local housing regulations, Airbnb filed a federal lawsuit contending the new law would cause it “irreparable harm.”

The heightened battle in New York follows lawsuits that Airbnb has filed against its hometown San Francisco and in Santa Monica, Calif., which have both moved to fine the company for illegal listings.

The company, which operates in a regulatory gray area around the globe, is also fighting tough battles in Amsterdam and Barcelona, Spain, which penalizes hosts who list illegal rentals, and in Berlin, which has banned most short-term rentals."

Soros on refugee resettlement as a matching problem

 George Soros on refugees, earlier this summer:
This is Europe’s Last Chance to Fix Its Refugee Policy
Foreign Policy Magazine, Jul 19, 2016

"Fifth, once refugees have been recognized, there needs to be a mechanism for relocating them within Europe in an agreed way. It will be crucial for the EU to fundamentally rethink the implementation of its stillborn resettlement and relocation programs; a tentative step in this direction was taken last week in new proposals put forth by the European Commission. The union cannot coerce either member states or refugees to participate in these programs. They must be voluntary; a matching scheme could elicit preferences from both refugees and receiving communities so that people end up where they want to be and where they are welcome. EASO has begun to develop such a matching scheme."

A somewhat shorter summary of his whole argument is here:
Saving Refugees to Save Europe

Friday, October 21, 2016

China, transplants, and executed prisoners: is the situation getting clearer?

A recent meeting in China cautiously suggests that there may be some concrete change in the practice of transplanting organs from executed prisoners:
Doctors hail China’s pledge to stop harvesting inmate organs

"Doctors from the World Health Organization and the Montreal-based Transplantation Society who were invited to the conference by China praised Chinese officials for reforms they have made in the transplant system, including a ban put in place last year on using organs from executed inmates.

"Doubts persist that China is accurately reporting figures or meeting its pledge given its severe shortage of organ donors and China’s long-standing black-market organ trade. By its own figures, China has one of the lowest rates of organ donation in the world, and even the system’s advocates say it needs hundreds of additional hospitals and doctors.

"While China suppresses most discussions about human rights, government officials and state media have publicly talked about their commitment to ending a practice opposed by doctors and human rights groups due to fears that it promotes executions and coercion.
"Others offered praise for Chinese officials, but stopped short of saying whether they could confirm China had stopped using executed inmates’ organs.

“It’s not a matter for us to prove to you that it’s zero,” said Dr. Francis Delmonico, a longtime surgeon and a professor at Harvard Medical School. “It’s a matter for the government to fulfill what is the law, just as it is in the other countries of the world that we go to.”

"China is believed to perform more executions than any other country, though the government does not disclose how many.

"The former vice minister of health, Dr. Huang Jiefu, publicly acknowledged in 2005 that China harvested executed inmates’ organs for transplant, and a paper he coauthored six years later reported that as many as 90 percent of Chinese transplant surgeries using organs from dead people came from those put to death.

"Huang has also responded to a report earlier this year that a Canadian patient apparently received a kidney from an executed inmate by announcing that the doctor and the hospital in question were suspended from performing more transplants."

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Normative Ethics and Welfare Economics at HBS, and Behavioral Ethics, also at HBS (at the same time:)

There are two (competing) conferences on ethics at Harvard this weekend, one on Friday and Saturday and the other on Friday, both at HBS.

I'll be speaking at this one:

2016 Normative Ethics and Welfare Economics Conference
October 21-22, Harvard Business School
Organizers: Itai Sher and Matt Weinzierl

All sessions will take place in the Chao Centerroom 340
Transportation to the HBS campus from the Hyatt Regency Cambridge Hotel will be provided.
Oct 21

A Harvard University shuttle bus will depart the Hyatt at 8:00 am




Opening Remarks


Population Ethics

Partha Dasgupta and Johann Frick
Discussant: Glen Weyl

Birth and Death
Socially Embedded Preferences, Environmental Externalities, and Reproductive Rights



Reasons and Preferences

Justin Snedegar and Itai Sher
Discussant: Caspar Hare

Overlapping Reasons

Comparative Value and the Weight of Reasons



Public Reason

Matt Weinzierl and Sean Ingham
Discussant: Lucas Stanczyk

A Dilemma for Theories of Public Reason
A Welfarist Role for Nonwelfarist Rules: An Example with Envy



Forbidden Transactions

Michael Sandel and Al Roth
Discussant: Stefanie Stantcheva



Dinner for Speakers & Discussants

Location TBA

Transportation will be provided
Oct 22

A Harvard University shuttle bus will depart the Hyatt at 8:00 am



Business Ethics




Behavioral Economics and Welfare Economics

John Doris, Julia Haas, and Dan Benjamin
Discussant: Ben Lockwood

Moral Psychonomics
Reconsidering Risk Aversion


1:30 - 3:00


Matthew Adler and Hilary Greaves
Discussant: Jerry Green

Justice, Claims and Prioritarianism: Room for Desert?



Closing Panel

Marc Fleurbaey, Dan Hausman, Greg Mankiw, Tim Scanlon
Moderator: Nathan Hendren


It turns out that there is a lot of interest in ethics at Harvard, and so there is another ethics conference at the same time, also meeting at HBS:

Symposium - "Behavioral Ethics: Philosophical and Psychological Perspectives" Featuring Peter Singer


Friday, October 21, 2016 (All day)

See also: Ethics


Spangler Auditorium, Harvard Business School

Organizers: Max Bazerman and Joshua Greene
Sponsors: Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics, Harvard Business School, Center for Public Leadership at Harvard Kennedy School
This symposium will integrate psychology and philosophy to explore a goal state for ethical behavior, why we fail to achieve that goal state, and what society can do create more ethical behavior.
Event Participant Bios

9:30 a.m. - 10:00 a.m.
Danielle Allen and Max Bazerman

10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.         
What does the greatest good look like in contemporary society?
Peter Singer, "What is the Most Good We Can Do?"
Joshua Greene, TBD
Steven Pinker, “Measuring and Defining Progress”

12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m.           
Lunch Break

1:15 p.m. - 2:45 p.m.             
Why don’t we get there?
Mahzarin Banaji, "The Difficulty with Discretion"
Fiery Cushman, “Is Non-Consequentialism a Feature or a Bug?”
Michael Norton, "Spreading the Wealth (and Health): Evidence for a Universal Desire for Greater Equality"
3:00 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.
What can be done to change behavior (nudging and beyond)?
Francesca Gino, “To Do or Not To Do: Motivating Ethical Behavior”
Iris Bohnet, "Gender Equality by Design"
Max Bazerman, "Prescriptions for Creating Greater Good"

4:30 p.m. - 4:45 p.m.             
Closing Statement
Max Bazerman