Seminars / Conferences

Seminar Time & Location Information 

Time and Location: 12:00PM – 1:20PM

Jon M Huntsman Hall (JMHH)

3730 Walnut St.

Philadelphia, PA 19104

Suite 540/541 (unless otherwise noted)

To schedule a meeting with a speaker log in to the OID SharePoint site or Kiara Rosario

Seminars 2022-2023

Fall 2022

Thursday, November 17, 2022

Seminar held in JMHH 350

Presenter: Francisco Castro

Title: 

Abstract

Thursday, November 10, 2022

Seminar held in JMHH 350

Presenter: Can Chang

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Thursday, November 3, 2022

Seminar held in JMHH 350

Presenter: Itai Gurvich

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Tuesday, October 25, 2022

Seminar held in JMHH 350

Presenter: Grace Gu

Title: 

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Thursday, October 20, 2022

Seminar held in JMHH 260

Presenter: Michael Freeman

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Tuesday, October 18, 2022

Seminar held in JMHH 355

Presenter: John Lazarev

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Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Seminar held in JMHH 350

Presenter: Marshall Van Alstyne

Title: Free Speech, Platforms & The Fake News Problem

Abstract

How should a platform or a society address the problem of fake news? The spread of misinformation is ancient, complex, yet ubiquitous in media concerning elections, vaccinations, and global climate policy.  After examining key attributes of “fake news” and of current solutions, this article presents design tradeoffs for curbing fake news. The challenges are not restricted to truth or to scale alone.  Surprisingly, there exist boundary cases when a just society is better served by a mechanism that allows lies to pass, even as there are alternate boundary cases when a just society should put friction on truth.  Harm reflects an interplay of lies, decision error, scale, and externalities.  Using mechanism design, this article then proposes three tiers of solutions: (1) those that are legal and business model compatible, so firms should adopt them (2) those that are legal but not business model compatible, so firms need compulsion to adopt them, and (3) those that require changes to bad law.

The first set of solutions, grounded in choice architecture, seek to alter information sets available to those affected by misinformation. By enabling transparency into not simply the content and sources but also the distribution and destination, the system provides effective means for counter narratives that are infeasible under current transparency proposals.

The second set of solutions, based in externality economics, considers how to protect free speech while updating Section 230. Revisions have faced two main critiques: one, that holding platforms actionable for false speech would cause them to take down user speech, and two, that ambiguity in individual messages makes judgement of false speech infeasible at scale. Whistleblower testimony before congress emphasized platform amplification of content in pursuit of engagement.  A targeted solution, therefore, can separate original speech from amplified speech, generously protecting the former while reverse amplifying the latter.  The posting and even discovery of false speech is protected even as amplification is unprotected.  The second element uses scale as an advantage.  Rather than vet every message, the system takes only statistical samples.  The Central Limit Theorem guarantees that establishing the presence of misinformation in amplified speech is feasible to any level of desired accuracy simply by taking larger samples.

The third set of solutions imports insights of antitrust jurisprudence into free speech jurisprudence.  The paradox of antitrust before 1978 was that legal decisions, intended to protect consumers and free markets, artificially raised prices by protecting inefficient firms from consequences of competition.  Free speech rulings vigorously protect speakers on the basis of enabling a free market of ideas. Overzealous protection of those promoting false facts, however, prevents the market from clearing itself.  No government intervention is required.  Rather, it simply needs to step aside in such cases as WASHLITE v Fox News, where numerous false stories that covid is no worse than flu and that vaccines do not work have been causally implicated in thousands of unnecessary deaths. The free speech paradox is that legal decisions intended to protect citizens and free idea markets artificially raise harms and protect those pushing false claims from consequences of acting on those claims.

Paper:  https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3997980

Thursday, September 22, 2022

Seminar held in JMHH 350

Presenter: Spyros Zoumpoulis

Title: Quantifying the Benefits of Targeting for Pandemic Response

Abstract

Problem definition: To respond to pandemics such as COVID-19, policy makers have relied on interventions that target specific population groups or activities. Since targeting is potentially contentious, rigorously quantifying its benefits is critical for designing effective and equitable pandemic control policies.

Methodology/results: We propose a flexible modeling framework and a set of associated algorithms that compute optimally targeted, time-dependent interventions that coordinate across two dimensions of heterogeneity: age of different groups and the specific activities that individuals engage in during the normal course of a day. We showcase a complete implementation focused on the Île-de-France region of France, based on commonly available public data. We find that targeted policies generate substantial complementarities that lead to Pareto improvements, reducing the number of deaths and the economic losses, as well as the time in confinement for each age group. Optimized dual-targeted policies are interpretable: by fitting decision trees to our raw policy’s decisions across many problem instances, we find that a feature corresponding to the ratio of marginal economic value prorated by social contacts is highly salient in explaining the confinements that any group – activity pair experiences. We also propose coarser and thus more practical targeting mechanisms that avoid explicitly enforcing differential confinements across age groups, while still capturing some of the benefits of dual targeting.

Implications: Given that some amount of targeting of activities and age groups is already in place in real-world pandemic responses, our framework highlights the significant benefits in explicitly and transparently modelling targeting and identifying the interventions that rigorously optimize overall societal welfare.

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Seminar held in JMHH 350

Presenter: David Rand

Title: Harnessing Partisan Animosity to Solve the Misinformation Problem

Abstract

When discussing the ills afflicting social media, there is a great deal of concern about the role played by partisan animosity. Among other negative consequences, dislike of counter-partisans – and political motivations more generally – have been suggested to promote belief in, and sharing of, misinformation. While partisanship may be part of the misinformation problem, here I will argue that political motivations are also essential for one of the only possibilities for identifying (and therefore combatting) misinformation at scale – the wisdom of crowds. While professional fact-checkers play a critical role in countering misinformation, they are relatively few in number, and cannot possibly keep up with the vast amount of content posted on social media every day. Recent work has suggested that it is possible to supplement professional fact-checking by harnessing the wisdom of crowds: the ratings of fairly small politically-balanced groups of laypeople can generate high levels of agreement with professional fact-checkers. A central challenge for conducting crowd-based evaluations at scale, however, is the problem of encouraging participation – why should people bother to flag misleading content? In this talk, I will argue that not wanting people to be exposed to posts by counter-partisans helps to solve this participation problem by motivating people to flag. Although extreme partisans would flag all counter-partisan content as misleading regardless of its actual truth value, such extreme partisans are rare. A much larger group of people care somewhat about both truth and partisanship, such that they would only be sufficiently motivated to flag when content is both misleading and counter-partisan. For these people, the partisan motivation is needed to drive participation – without any partisan motive they would flag nothing. I will present experimental and observational social media data supporting this account.

Thursday, September 8, 2022

Seminar held in JMHH 540

Presenter: Jan Van Mieghem

Title: Smart Logistics, Sourcing and ESG

Abstract

Forthcoming

Conferences

October 6-7, 2022

Information

Since 2006, the Workshop for Empirical Research in Operations Management brings together a community of scholars with a passion for empirical research in Operations. The purpose of the Workshop is to exchange research ideas, share experiences in the publication process, discuss methodological issues, and grow together as a group of colleagues with a common research interest.

October 16th, 2022

2022 Informs Reception

Information

Indianapolis, Indiana

Location: JW Marriott Indianapolis – 10 S. West Street, Indianapolis, IN 46204

Sunday, October 16th

7:00 – 9:00 pm