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The New Republic

Economics in Action: The Life-Changing, Nobel-Winning Work of Al Roth

October 17, 2012

A few years back, while on a visit to the University of Cincinnati, Al Roth decided to skip breakfast. A noted economist at Harvard, Roth was responsible for algorithms that matched medical students with their residency programs, children with their schools in Boston, and more recently, compatible kidney donors and transplant patients in paired donations. So, when the paired donation consortium in Ohio learned that Roth was going to be in town, they invited him in to observe an early-morning transplant that had resulted from his work.

Roth skipped breakfast as a precaution. Later, he told me that the surgery was so interesting to watch, he was pretty sure he could have eaten beforehand and not had a problem.

Listening to him, I wondered how many econo

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