Utku Unver

From EverybodyWiki Bios & Wiki

Utku Unver
BornM. Utku Ünver
August 10, 1971
Ankara, Turkey
🏳️ NationalityTurkish and American
💼 Occupation
🌐 Websitesites.bc.edu/utku-unver/

M. Utku Ünver (born c. 1971) is Professor of Economics at the Boston College and served as the President of Society for Economic Design (2008-2015).


Ünver grew up in Ankara, Turkey, andattended Ankara Atatürk Anadolu Middle School and High School. He attended Bilkent University, Electrical and Electronics Engineering Department and graduated in 1993. He was then admitted to the MA program in Economics at Bilkent , and received a PhD in economics in 2000 from the University of Pittsburgh Department of Economics, under Alvin E. Roth . While at Pittsburgh, he received the Best Graduate Student Paper award of the Society for Computational Economics in 1999. In 2000, he moved to Istanbul and joined the Koç University Economics Department as assistant professor. He became an assistant professor of economics in 2005 at the University of Pittsburgh, and since 2008 he has been an associate and full professor of economics at Boston College Department of Economics.

He served as the president of the Society for Economic Design between 2008-2015. . In 2013 he won the Special Award given by the Turkish Scientific and Technical Research Council (TÜBİTAK), the highest scientific award given to a scientist of Turkish origin working abroad.[1] In 2014, he was elected as a Fellow to the Science Academy Society of Turkey. Since his PhD, he has been interested in the design of matching markets.


Market Design and Kidney Exchange[edit]

As a MA student at Bilkent University, he wrote his thesis in regulatory mechanism design with Prof. Semih Koray. Then he got exposed to experimental methods in the experimental economics tradition of the University of Pittsburgh, his advisors were John Duffy and 2012 Nobel Prize winner Alvin E. Roth. He also worked in the emerging field of evolutionary computational methods in the context of market design. This three-headed toolbox and early exposure to real-life economics topics determined most of his later research trajectory. He has been an economic theorist mostly in the latter part of his career.

He is best known for his work in the organization of living donor kidney exchanges to mitigate severe transplant organ shortages. He wrote a series of papers with Tayfun Sönmez and Alvin E Roth[2][3][4] on the organization of paired kidney exchanges which was introduced as a concept by Dr. F. Rapaport in 1986[5]. Paired kidney exchanges were conducted a handful of times in the US and new national programs were starting to pop up in South Korea and the Netherlands.[6] Only 31 patients had received living donation through kidney exchanges in the US by the end of 2003[7] since the first kidney exchange in the world conducted by Dr. Park in Hanyang University in South Korea in 1991.[8] In a simple two-way kidney exchange, two patients swap their incompatible donors with each other: the incompatible living donor of patient 1 donates a kidney to patient 2 with whom he is compatible and the incompatible living donor of patient 2 donates a kidney to patient 1 with whom he is compatible. In a more complex three-way exchange, three patient-donor pairs swap donors. In 2004 along with medical doctors Susan L Saidman and Francis Delmonico, Unver started the first kidney exchange clearinghouse, New England Program for Kidney Exchange (NEPKE) that works based on optimization principles incorporating two-way and three-way exchanges along with his co-authors Sönmez and Roth.[9] NEPKE was chosen as the regional coordinator between UNOS and transplant centers to start off the UNOS national kidney exchange pilot program, which was established in 2010, and then dissolved itself in favor of the UNOS program in 2011.[10]

Roth, Sönmez, and Ünver partnered with Dr. Michael Rees to support Alliance for Paired Donation in 2005, which adopted their mechanisms and software. In this program, besides incorporating three-way exchanges, they incorporated and advocated for altruistic-donor chains, in which a Good Samaritan donor donates to the patient of first pair and the donor of the first pair donates to the patient of the second pair. In return the donor of the second pair donates to the patient of a third pair and the chain goes on as long as it could.[11][12] These chains as of 2020 make up most of the kidney exchanges in the US.[13]

In the announcement of 2012 Nobel Prize in Economics, Ünver’s kidney exchange work was extensively featured in the background document as one of the main contributors to his co-author Alvin Roth’s Nobel Prize and his nine papers were cited as part of main contribution.[14]

Ünver also wrote with Tayfun Sönmez and some other coauthors several other papers on the theory and practice of the organization of kidney exchanges and introduced mechanisms for living-donor paired lobar liver exchanges and dual-donor organ exchanges for lungs and dual-graft liver transplantation.[15][16][17]

Other Market Design[edit]

Ünver also helped improving the child adoption recommendation systems used by social services of the US states.[18] He worked extensively on theoretical and practical mechanism design questions with several coauthors.[19][20][21] After the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic, he has been working on the design of fair allocation of vaccines and medical supplies with Parag Pathak, Tayfun Sönmez and Bumin Yenmez. Their design is adopted in Pennsylvania for allocation of scarce antiviral drugs.[22] The incentive scheme for COVID-19 plasma donation suggested in his paper with Scott Kominers, Parag Pathak and Tayfun Sönmez has been adopted by Covid Plasma Initiative.[23]

He advised several PhD students who are currently researchers of matching market design.


Ünver has published over 35 articles in peer reviewed journals including the top-ranked economic journals American Economic Review, Econometrica, Quarterly Journal of Economics, Journal of Political Economy, and Review of Economic Studies. His most cited articles are


  1. "2013 Tubitak Awards". Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  2. Roth, Alvin E.; Sönmez, Tayfun; Ünver, M. Utku (2004-05-01). "Kidney Exchange". The Quarterly Journal of Economics. 119 (2): 457–488. doi:10.1162/0033553041382157. ISSN 0033-5533.
  3. Roth, Alvin E.; Sönmez, Tayfun; Utku Ünver, M. (2005-12-01). "Pairwise kidney exchange". Journal of Economic Theory. 125 (2): 151–188. doi:10.1016/j.jet.2005.04.004. ISSN 0022-0531. Unknown parameter |s2cid= ignored (help)
  4. Roth, Alvin E; Sönmez, Tayfun; Ünver, M. Utku (2007-05-01). "Efficient Kidney Exchange: Coincidence of Wants in Markets with Compatibility-Based Preferences". American Economic Review. 97 (3): 828–851. doi:10.1257/aer.97.3.828. ISSN 0002-8282. PMID 29135211. Unknown parameter |s2cid= ignored (help)
  5. Rapaport, F. T. (June 1986). "The case for a living emotionally related international kidney donor exchange registry". Transplantation Proceedings. 18 (3) Suppl. 2): 5–9. ISSN 0041-1345. PMID 11649919.
  6. "Scientifc Background on the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel 2012" (PDF). Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  7. "SRTR/OPTN National Data kidney, transplant, with living-donor-relation to patient". Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  8. Park, K; Moon, J.I.I; Kim, S.I.I; Kim, Y.S (February 1999). "Exchange-donor program in kidney transplantation". Transplantation Proceedings. 31 (1–2): 356–357. doi:10.1016/s0041-1345(98)01659-5. ISSN 0041-1345. PMID 10083140.
  9. "Kidney Exchange: A Life-Saving Application of Matching Theory". Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  10. "A Systematic Review of Kidney Paired Donation: Applying Lessons From Historic and Contemporary Case Studies to Improve the US Model". Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  11. Roth, A. E.; Sönmez, T.; Ünver, M. U.; Delmonico, F. L.; Saidman, S. L. (November 2006). "Utilizing List Exchange and Nondirected Donation through 'Chain' Paired Kidney Donations". American Journal of Transplantation. 6 (11): 2694–2705. doi:10.1111/j.1600-6143.2006.01515.x. ISSN 1600-6135. PMID 16981911. Unknown parameter |s2cid= ignored (help)
  12. Rees, Michael A.; Kopke, Jonathan E.; Pelletier, Ronald P.; Segev, Dorry L.; Rutter, Matthew E.; Fabrega, Alfredo J.; Rogers, Jeffrey; Pankewycz, Oleh G.; Hiller, Janet; Roth, Alvin E.; Sandholm, Tuomas (2009-03-12). "A Nonsimultaneous, Extended, Altruistic-Donor Chain". New England Journal of Medicine. 360 (11): 1096–1101. doi:10.1056/NEJMoa0803645. ISSN 0028-4793. PMID 19279341.
  13. Agarwal, Nikhil; Ashlagi, Itai; Azevedo, Eduardo; Featherstone, Clayton R.; Karaduman, Ömer (2019-11-01). "Market Failure in Kidney Exchange". American Economic Review. 109 (11): 4026–4070. doi:10.1257/aer.20180771. ISSN 0002-8282.
  14. "Scientifc Background on the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel 2012" (PDF). Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  15. Sönmez, Tayfun; Ünver, M. Utku; Yenmez, M. Bumin (2020-07-01). "Incentivized Kidney Exchange". American Economic Review. 110 (7): 2198–2224. doi:10.1257/aer.20170950. ISSN 0002-8282.
  16. Ergin, Haluk; Sönmez, Tayfun; Ünver, M. Utku (2020). "Efficient and Incentive‐Compatible Liver Exchange". Econometrica. 88 (3): 965–1005. doi:10.3982/ecta16400. ISSN 0012-9682.
  17. Ergin, Haluk; Sönmez, Tayfun; Ünver, M. Utku (2017). "Dual-Donor Organ Exchange". Econometrica. 85 (5): 1645–1671. doi:10.3982/ecta13971. ISSN 0012-9682.
  18. Slaugh, Vincent W.; Akan, Mustafa; Kesten, Onur; Ünver, M. Utku (2016-03-22). "The Pennsylvania Adoption Exchange Improves Its Matching Process". INFORMS Journal on Applied Analytics. 46 (2): 133–153. doi:10.1287/inte.2015.0828. ISSN 0092-2102.
  19. Dur, Umut Mert; Ünver, M. Utku (June 2019). "Two-Sided Matching via Balanced Exchange". Journal of Political Economy. 127 (3): 1156–1177. doi:10.1086/701358. ISSN 0022-3808.
  20. Kesten, Onur; Ünver, M. Utku (2015). "A theory of school-choice lotteries". Theoretical Economics. 10 (2): 543–595. doi:10.3982/TE1558. ISSN 1555-7561.
  21. Pycia, Marek; Ünver, M. Utku (2017). "Incentive compatible allocation and exchange of discrete resources". Theoretical Economics. 12 (1): 287–329. doi:10.3982/TE2201. ISSN 1555-7561.
  22. "A Model Hospital Policy for Fair Allocation of Medications to Treat COVID-19 | Department of Critical Care Medicine". ccm.pitt.edu. Retrieved 2020-09-27.
  23. "Plasma Shot | Concentrated COVID-19 antibodies (HiG) treatment". Covid Plasma. Retrieved 2020-09-27.

External links[edit]

This article "Utku Unver" is from Wikipedia. The list of its authors can be seen in its historical and/or the page Edithistory:Utku Unver. Articles copied from Draft Namespace on Wikipedia could be seen on the Draft Namespace of Wikipedia and not main one.