Reading Group

Reading List

The Mechanism Design for Social Good research group is a multi-institution, interdisciplinary group exploring research directions in various domains where insights from algorithms, optimization, and mechanism design can be used to improve access to opportunity.

We keep this website updated with our reading list and detailed discussion notes. The notes are taken by members of the group with some figures and texts taken from the accompanying presentations and papers. The organizers take responsibility for these notes. Please contact the organizers with any thoughts, questions, or suggestions at

Topics: Housing, Healthcare, Economic Inequality, Online Labor Markets, Education, Bias and Discrimination, Civic Participation, and the Developing World.

Section Date Topic Suggested Reading Speaker Notes
Developing World (Rediet) 11/27/17 Kudu: An Electronic Market for Agricultural Trade in Uganda
  1. About Kudu
  2. Designing and Evolving an Electronic Agricultural Marketplace in Uganda
Kevin Leyton-Brown PDF
Developing World (Rediet) 3/27/18 Sensing with Farmers
  1. AI and Data Science Group
  2. mCROPS project
Mutembesa Daniel, with Ernest MwebazePDF
Developing World (Rediet) 4/17/18 Land Trade and Development
  1. Land Trade and Development
Gharad Bryan PDF
Developing World (Rediet) 5/1/18 Give Directly
  1. Give Directly Website
Paul Niehaus PDF
Developing World (Rediet) 5/8/18 Information and Communication Technology for Development
  1. UW ICTD Lab
  2. BSpeak: An Accessible Crowdsourcing Marketplace for Blind People
  3. "You Can Always Do Better!" The Impact of Social Proof on Participant Response Bias
Aditya VashisthaPDF
Civic Participation (Sam) 2/20/18 Participatory Budgeting Ashish Goel PDF
Civic Participation (Sam) 3/6/18 Voter Fraud
  1. One Person, One Vote: Estimating the Prevalence of Double Voting in U.S. Presidential Elections
Sharad Goel PDF
Civic Participation (Sam) 3/13/18 Extreme Democracy
  1. Liquid Democracy: An Algorithmic Perspective
  2. Preference Elicitation For Participatory Budgeting
  3. A Voting-Based System for Ethical Decision Making
Ariel Procaccia PDF
*Special Talk* 1/23/18 Privacy and Poverty
  1. The Class Differential in Privacy Law
  2. Social Media, Privacy, and Personal Responsibility Among Low-SES Youth
  3. The Personal Prospectus and the Threat of a Full Disclosure Future
Rachel Cummings PDF
Bias and Diversity (Manish) 10/2/17 Designing Against Discrimination in Online Markets
  1. Preprint
Solon Barocas PDF
Bias and Diversity (Manish) 10/16/17 Group Fairness in a Two-Stage Labor Market
  1. Fairness at Equilibrium in the Labor Market
Lily Hu PDF
Bias and Diversity (Manish) 10/30/17 Affirmative Action
  1. Valuing Diversity
Glenn Loury PDF
Education (Irene) 5/3/17 Mechanism Design and Allocation Systems Course Allocation at Wharton
  1. The Combinatorial Assignment Problem: Approximate Competitive Equilibrium from Equal Incomes
  2. Bringing Real Market Participants´┐Ż Real Preferences into the Lab: An Experiment that Changed the Course Allocation Mechanism at Wharton
  3. Course Match: A Large-Scale Implementation of Approximate Competitive Equilibrium from Equal Incomes for Combinatorial Allocation
School Choice in Boston
  1. Optimal Allocation Without Money: An Engineering Approach
  2. Assortment Planning in School Choice
  3. Guiding School-Choice Reform through Novel Applications of Operations Research
Irene PDF
Education (Irene) 5/10/17 Financing and School Vouchers
  1. The Effects of School Spending on Educational and Economic Outcomes: Evidence from School Finance Reforms
  2. School Vouchers: A Survey of the Economics Literature
Irene PDF
Education (Irene) 5/24/17 Information Problems in Education
  1. Leveraging Technology to Engage Parents at Scale: Evidence from a Randomized Controlled Trial (and NPR interview)
  2. Improving School Choice Through Informed Residential Choice: Preliminary Evidence from a Large-Scale, Randomized Trial (preliminary) -- site from the RCT
Eric Chan PDF
Online Labor Markets (Kira) 3/1/17 Some issues in designing online labor markets
  1. Price Floors and Employer Preferences
  2. Buyer Uncertainty about Seller Capacity
John J. Horton PDF
Online Labor Markets (Kira) 3/22/17 Market Power Asymmetry and Possible Mediation
  1. Accounting for Market Frictions and Power Asymmetries in Online Labor Markets
  2. Can Reputation Discipline the Gig Economy?
Kira, Sid Suri PDF
Online Labor Markets (Kira) 3/29/17 Mechanism Design in Online Platforms
  1. Facilitating the search for partners on matching platforms: Restricting agent actions
  2. Communication Requirements and Informative Signaling in Matching Markets
  3. Matching while learning
Yash Kanoria PDF
Economic Inequality (Rediet) 1/18/17 Is there anything money can't buy? Opportunities in the 21st century.
  1. Absolute Income Mobility
  2. The Fading American Dream Project
  3. Optional: Recent Developments in Intergenerational Mobility
  4. Optional: Geography of Intergenerational Mobility in the U.S.
David Grusky PDF
Economic Inequality (Rediet) 2/1/17 Optimal Redistributive Taxation
  1. Empirical Research on Economic Inequality (Chapters 1, 2, 10)
Maximilian Kasy PDF
Economic Inequality (Rediet) 2/22/17 Health Inequality
  1. The Association Between Income and Life Expectancy in the United States, 2001-2014
  2. The Health Inequality Project
Michael Stepner PDF
Economic Inequality (Rediet)4/12/17 Labor Market Imperfections, Unions, and Economic Inequality Suresh Naidu PDF
*Special Talk* 1/11/17 Matching Markets and Refugee Resettlement
  1. Refugee Resettlement (Sections 1, 2, 8, 9, 10)
  2. Market Design blog
Alex Teytelboym
Healthcare (Matt) 11/17/16 Insurance Company Incentives
  1. Data-driven incentive alignment in capitation schemes
  2. Strategic Classification
Matt PDF
Healthcare (Matt) 11/30/16 Health Insurance Policy and Market Design Issues Mark Shepard PDF
Healthcare (Matt) 12/15/16 Overview on the Global Burden of Disease Study
  1. Global Burden of Disease
Abraham Flaxman PDF
Housing (Dan) 9/26/16 Eviction, Causal Effects of Place, and Low-Income Housing Assistance in the U.S.
  1. Housing Affordability and Eviction
  2. A nice 538 Article on the MARS study
  3. Interim results from the MTO (Moving to Opportunity) experiment
  4. Long-run effects on the kids
  5. Policies in the U.S.
  6. Another nice 538 Article
Housing (Dan) 10/10/16 Centralized Solutions to Public Housing Allocation
  1. Low Income Housing Policy (Sections I-III)
  2. Dynamic Matching in Overloaded Waiting Lists
Dan, Irene PDF
Housing (Dan) 10/27/16 Regulation
  1. Externalities and property rights
  2. Building restrictions
  3. Construction and affordable housing