Monthly Archives: September 2014

BU well represented at ASSA meetings in 2015

As would be expected since the Allied Social Science Association (ASSA) meetings are in Boston this January, BU is well represented on the ASSA program. After searching and scanning through the program for current and former students and current faculty, I identified 81 BU affiliate names on the program, whether as authors, discussants or presiding. This includes 17 of our regular BU economics faculty. The full list with affiliations is shown below. Note that his reflects not only economics department members, but also SMG, SPH, Political Science, Law or whatever may be the current affiliation.

In 2014, when the meetings were in Philadelphia, there were 70 BU affiliates participating.
This count is almost certainly an undercount, since recognizing the names of BU alumni is imprecise. I apologize for missing some names.

If one restricts the count to only names of current BU affiliates then there are 57 names affiliated with BU, which is ahead of BC (32) and Brown (21) but well behind our neighbors of Harvard (270) and MIT (152). We seem to rank about 15th. We still have a ways to go!

As usual (always?) there will be a BU reception at the meetings. This year it will be Sunday January 4 6-8 p.m. in the Westin Hotel. Look in the program for the exact room.

It is not too early to plan on submiting for the next ASSA meetings:

January 3-5, 2016 (Sunday, Monday & Tuesday) San Francisco, CA Hilton San Francisco

Preliminary Program for 2015 is linked here.

https://www.aeaweb.org/Annual_Meeting/index.php

BU affiliates, with duplicate names signifying each role time a name appears on the program.:

Ahmed Galal      Economic Research Forum and former Finance Minister of Egypt
Alfredo Burlando             University of Oregon
Alisdair McKay   Boston University
Andrew F. Newman       Boston University and CEPR
Andrew F. Newman       Boston University and CEPR
Angela Dills         Providence College
Angela Dills         Providence College
Angela Dills         Providence College
Austin Frakt        Boston University
Berardino Palazzo            Boston University
Berardino Palazzo            Boston University
Berardino Palazzo            Boston University
Carola Frydman                Boston University
Carola Frydman                Northwestern University
Cathie Jo Martin               Boston University
Ching-to Albert Ma         Boston University
Claudia Olivetti  Boston University
Claudia Olivetti Boston University
Daniele Paserman           Boston University
Dara Lee Luca    Harvard University and University of Missouri
Dara Lee Luca    University of Missouri and Harvard University
Dirk Hackbarth Boston University
Evgeny Lyandres              Boston University
Francesco Decarolis        Boston University
Giorgos Zervas Boston University
Giulia La Mattina              University of South Florida
Gustavo Schwenkler      Boston University
Hiroaki Kaido      Boston University
Ivan Fernandez-Val         Boston University
Jae W. Sim          Federal Reserve Board
James Rebitzer                 Boston University
Jerome Detemple           Boston University
Jianjun Miao      Boston University
Jing Guo               American Institutes for Research
Julie Shi                Harvard University
Julie Shi                Harvard University
Julie Shi                Harvard University
Kathleen Carey                 Boston University
Kathleen Carey                 Boston University
Kehinde Ajayi    Boston University
Kehinde Ajayi    Boston University
Kehinde Ajayi    Boston University
Kehinde Ajayi    Boston University
Keith Marzilli Ericson       Boston University
Keith Marzilli Ericson       Boston University
Kevin Gallagher                Boston University
Kevin Gallagher                Boston University
Kevin Lang          Boston University
Kevin Lang          Boston University
Koichiro Ito         Boston University
Koichiro Ito         Boston University
Koichiro Ito         Boston University
Kristopher Gerardi          Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta
Kristopher Gerardi          Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta
Leslie Boden      Boston University
Marc Rysman     Boston University
Marc Rysman     Boston University
Marc Rysman     Boston University
Marcel Rindisbacher       Boston University
Martha Starr      American University
Megan MacGarvie           Boston University
Pasquale Schiraldi            London School of Economics
Pasquale Schiraldi            London School of Economics
Phillip H. Ross    Boston University
Randall Ellis         Boston University
Robert Margo    Boston University
Rodolfo Prieto   Boston University
Rui Albuquerque              Boston University
Samuel Bazzi      Boston University
Sean Horan         Université de Montréal
Shinsuke Tanaka              Tufts University
Shinsuke Tanaka              Tufts University
Shulamit Kahn   Boston University
Silvia Prina           Case Western Reserve University
Simon Gilchrist Boston University
Simon Gilchrist Boston University
Stefania Garetto              Boston University
Timothy Layton                 Boston University
Yorghos Tripodis               Boston University
Yuan Tian             Boston University
Yuping Tsai          Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

 

A model for US: $1 coins and no pennies

I just returned from a vacation in Ecuador (which is spectacular) but wanted to post about a wonderful feature of their monetary system.

Ecuador does not have its own currency but instead uses the US dollar as their only currency. US dollar bills and coins are used everywhere, which is very convenient for visitors. But they do two intelligent things.

* They do not use paper $1 bills, but instead rely almost solely on the US-minted Sacagawea dollar coins for transactions.

* They generally do not use pennies but instead round transactions to the nearest nickel.

(They do mint their own Ecuadorian US-size dimes, quarters and nickels to make up for their shortage, using the same front side but a different reverse. They must have imported millions of $1 dollar coins.)

Wouldn’t be nice if the US adopted this system!

 

NEJM: Sham Controls in Medical Device Trials

Rita F. Redberg, M.D.

N Engl J Med 2014; 371:892-893September 4, 2014DOI: 10.1056/NEJMp1406388

(Bold emphasis added by RPE)

The problem:

Only 1% of all medical devices reach the market through the premarket-approval route — the only pathway that requires the submission of clinical data. Research has shown that premarket approvals are often based on data from one small trial that used surrogate end points and included only short-term follow-up.1

RCTs are rarely used:

“Blinded, randomized, controlled trials (RCTs), in which the proposed therapy is compared with a placebo or a “sham” (nontherapeutic) intervention, are common for drugs but rare for medical devices.”

Even complex, RCTs with invasive procedures are possible.

“…double-blind trials of fetal-tissue transplantation for Parkinson’s disease, discussed by Freeman et al. (1999). The sham procedure involved making twist-drill holes in the patient’s forehead and was considered necessary and ethical for determining whether there was an effect of treatment beyond the placebo effect (there was not).”

“Another important lesson on the value of sham controls came from vertebroplasty, a procedure in which bone cement is injected into a fractured vertebra for treatment of a compression fracture. Vertebroplasty became popular in the early 2000s, on the basis of observational studies and a nonrandomized trial. Fueled by position statements from various U.S. radiologic and neurologic surgical societies arguing the benefits of these procedures, the number of vertebroplasties performed in Medicare patients nearly doubled between 2001 and 2005, increasing from 45.0 to 86.8 per 100,000 enrollees.3 In 2009, however, RCTs that included a group assigned to receive a nontherapeutic procedure found that pain relief in the sham-procedure group was no different from that in the group that received the actual procedure.4

Placebo effects are even larger with procedures than with drugs.

“ Researchers at the Institute of Medical Psychology in Munich recently quantified that power for various types of placebo treatments in studies of migraine prophylaxis. They found that 58% of patients had a positive response to sham surgery and 38% had a positive response to sham acupuncture, while only 22% had a positive response to oral pharmacologic placebos.5

Conclusion: More RCTs are needed. But the article does not address the problem that even with RCTs it is hard to change physician practice.

Full article is here.
http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMp1406388?query=TOC