Thursday, December 8, 2016

Opposition to kidney sales in Iran

Afshin Nikzad points me to the following story in Farsi, and provides the translation below. He writes:

"I edit/copy parts of the article from google translate (since it didn't give a great translation) : 
The 78 years old residing in America in an interview with US media said he had been in America for a kidney transplant and doctors had told him he should stay on the waiting list for a kidney transplant from brain death or that of one of his two children. All catch. But he found a third way through his Iranian birth certificate: buying a kidney in Iran. In his interview he talked about the youth in Iran who from the poverty and desperation were lined up to speak to him for selling their kidney.
Doctor, "Ali Husseini,” the head of the Transplantation Society of the Middle East in response to the letter, said: "Buying and selling kidney with strangers is dirty and inhumane and is banned even in countries like India and Pakistan" He also said “among all the thousands seller in the country there is not a single a rich person, all were poor and sold the kidney from poverty and desperation; undoubtedly they  have not donated their kidney.”

Dr. Mohammad Reza Ganji, head of the Iranian Society of Nephrology said “… In the past two years  63% of the transplants have been from brain-dead (that is two thousand and six hundred transplants), and this is statistically significant in the world."

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Family consent for deceased organ donation in Canada

The National Post has the story:
One in five willing organ donors in Ontario have their wishes vetoed by family — and doctors don’t argue

"Legislation in most provinces and territories outlines legal authority for organ procurement from someone who has died. Written consent, such as an organ donor card or an online registration form, is legally binding. Family members can’t revoke that consent in most Canadian jurisdictions (the law is less clear in the North West Territories) — their refusal is legally meaningless.

"Despite the legal authority to do so, every provincial donation organization in Canada has a policy that the wishes of families will be followed (except Manitoba, where the wording is vague). Alberta legislation clearly prohibits seeking family consent when donor consent was previously provided and yet an Alberta Health Services directive states “your next of kin will be asked by the donation team to sign a consent form.”

"With more than 4,000 Canadians waiting for a lifesaving transplant, the gap between the law and what actually happens is glaring.

“People who register want donation to be part of their legacy,” says Linda Wright, the former director of bioethics of the University Health Network in Toronto, where more organ transplants are performed than anywhere else in Canada.

“As a living person you want to know your wishes will be respected,” she says, but health-care providers “don’t want to further traumatize families” often shocked and devastated over the sudden loss of a loved one.

"To date, no physician in Canada has ever overridden the wishes of the family in favour of the legally binding consent of the potential donor."

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Conference on Economic Design: York, United Kingdom, June 14-16, 2017

2017 Conference on Economic Design: York, United Kingdom, June 14-16, 2017

The tenth bi-annual Conference on Economic Design will be held at the University of York, United Kingdom, on three full days June 14-16 (Wed--Fri), 2017.
It will be organised by the Economics Department of the University of York and the Centre for Mechanism and Institution Design.

The conference welcomes paper submissions from many different fields such as economics, business, finance, politics, computer science, operations research, law, history relevant to mechanism or institution design in a broad sense, regardless of whether contributions are theoretical, empirical, experimental, historical or practical. Subjects include but are not limited to auctions, matching, school choice, college admission, organ exchange, decentralised markets, random market mechanisms, voting, social choice, taxation, tax reform, coalition formation, price formation, ranking and scoring, measurements of power and influence, contest, fair division, contract, bargaining, negotiation, market design implementation, pricing on electricity, pricing on public utilities, pricing on cloud computing services, online allocation mechanisms, online auctions, market design experiments, public goods experiments, behavioural mechanism design, information and incentive, digital sport market for labour, market design in transportation sector, institution and organisation, health care, health policy, health insurance, pension scheme, fiscal policy, monetary policy, growth and development, performance evaluation, arbitration, patent design, governance, etc.
York is a beautiful historical city with a rich heritage and a wealth of attractions being one of the most popular tourist destinations in the UK. We would like to advise you to make a hotel reservation as soon as possible if you wish to attend the conference, in order to avoid a shortage of affordable accommodation.

The Keynote Speakers are:
Sanjeev Goyal (Cambridge)

Parag Pathak (MIT)

Philip Reny (Chicago)

    Important Dates:
    Paper Submission Opens: 20-Nov-2016

    Paper Submission Deadline: 16-Feb-2017

    Notice of Accepted Papers : 1-Mar-2017 until 6-Apr-2017

    Registration Opens: 10-Mar-2017

    Early Registration Deadline: 20-Apr-2017

    Registration Deadline: 20-May-2017

      Conference Fees:
      Regular participants: Until 20-Apr-2017: £330 (GBP), after 20-Apr-2017: £380 (GBP)

      Student participants: Until 20-Apr-2017: £190 (GBP), after 20-Apr-2017: £230 (GBP)

      (Fees include a gala dinner, 3 lunches, drinks, a two-year membership of the Society for Economic Design and a subscription to the Review of Economic Design.)

      Paper Submission:
      We start to accept paper submissions from 20th Noverber 2016 until 16th February 2017.
      Each individual is allowed for only one paper submission.
      Papers should be submitted in PDF with a cover letter to
      If the author is a student, it is advised to declare it.

      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