Christopher Knittel: Claims of ethanol’s effect on gasoline prices based on flawed models

MIT Sloan Prof. Christopher Knittel

A few years ago, I was a bit skeptical when I heard some of the claims being made by supporters of the ethanol industry about how that corn-based fuel was reducing the price of gasoline. But it was only when I took a trip to Washington with my son and I saw some ads that were making even bigger claims that I decided that the truth had to get out.

Right now, Congress is debating the nation’s renewable fuel standard which, among other things, has helped spur a sharp increase in the production of ethanol. To help make their case, the trade group for the U.S. ethanol industry has been citing studies that claim that ethanol production reduced gasoline prices by 89 cents in 2010 and by $1.09 in 2011. Pretty powerful stuff. Except it’s wrong.

A paper I just co-authored for the MIT Center for Energy and Environmental Policy Research finds that the models used to produce those claims are “driven by implausible economic assumptions and spurious statistical correlations.” In fact, we find that the effects of ethanol production on gas prices are near zero and statistically insignificant. Continue reading

Itai Ashlagi and David Gamarnik on Kidney Transplants: How To Extend A Chain of Life

MIT Sloan Asst. Prof. Itai Ashlagi

From Forbes

When a person decides to donate a kidney, expecting nothing in return, clearly one person’s life could be saved. But this single act of altruism actually can save dozens of lives. For this to happen, though, kidney exchange programs need to take considerable care in deciding how to allocate the kidney of the altruistic donor and how to structure subsequent transplants.

Kidney exchanges were established in the past decade to solve a problem affecting thousands of people with kidney disease:

They have a loved one willing to donate a kidney, but the two have incompatible blood or tissue types. Organized in a clearinghouse or exchange, however, incompatible pairs can trade with each other, forming cycles in which each patient needing a kidney receives one from the donor of a different pair. Cycles have to be short—usually two or three pairs—because the transplants must be done simultaneously so each pair donating a kidney knows for certain it will receive one in return.

MIT Sloan Assoc. Prof. David Gamarnik

But if a donor comes forward who is not part of a pair, the potential for more life saving transplants arises. Because each pair can receive a kidney before donating one, the transplants do not have to be done simultaneously. What is the best way to use the kidney of an altruistic donor so that the greatest number of patients get transplants?
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Dean Schmittlein talks to PBS about the future of management education

David Schmittlein is the John C Head III Dean and Professor of Marketing at the MIT Sloan School of Management

MBA Philip Cohen: MIT’s new startup accelerator a ‘hive’ of entrepreneurial activity

Philip Cohen, MBA ’13, Managing Director of Beehive Cooperative

What are some of the biggest hassles of first-time entrepreneurship? In no particular order: rallying people around an idea; identifying the right teammates, finding a mentor, finding a legal team and investors; and finding a supportive entrepreneurial community that understands what you’re going through.

I’ve experienced these hassles first-hand. I am one of the founders of AudioCommon, a web-based platform that allows musicians and other members of the audio production industry to communicate and collaborate in new ways throughout the audio recording process. I also have the pleasure of managing MIT’s newest and largest startup accelerator: Beehive Cooperative. At the Beehive, we work to alleviate the aforementioned headaches. Continue reading

Jason Davis: The Corporate Collaboration

MIT Sloan Asst. Prof. Jason Davis

From Huffington Post

Rotating leadership may be part of the secret sauce that allows organizations like Apple to release breakthrough products and achieve a competitive advantage.’

Earlier this year, Apple released a list of partners that supply the chips, parts, and technology that make its products. (You can view the report here) The list is comprised of 156 companies — from big brands such as Intel, Panasonic, and Samsung Electronics to less well-known firms like Zeniya Aluminum Engineering and Taiyi Precision Tech Corporation.
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