Comment by david_reinstein on A Framework for Thinking about the EA Labor Market · 2019-05-11T20:20:09.222Z · score: 9 (3 votes) · EA · GW

Well written. I agree with most of the points. A minor quibble: I'm not sure I'd consider the wages in the nonprofit sector/EA to be 'structurally suppressed'. There are other considerations (both good and bad) limiting wages, particularly:

  1. Donors may be repelled by high salaries (but this is less likely to be true in EA imho)

  2. There is a case (and several good academic papers arguing this, e.g., Steinberg, 2008; Delfgauw and Dur, 2002 ) that a lower salary can screen for more cause-motivated employees; where performance and outcomes can not be as easily monitored and incentivized, intrinsic motivation is important. This is not to say that I think a higher salary will attract less-motivated employees, but these can be hard to distinguish from others. In net the gain from higher salary may not be as strong in the nonprofit/EA sector.

You note:

The Centre for Effective Altruism is hiring a new CEO. Should it restrict its search to candidates willing to show their commitment by pledging everything they earn above a modest amount to effective charities? (Purely hypothetical question, I have no reason to think CEA is doing this).

As we discussed in the doc, I suggest there is a middle ground: Give preference to hiring people who have committed to donate at least a certain share of their income (and have demonstrably fulfilled this pledge).

A corporate skills bake sale?

2019-04-13T15:49:40.178Z · score: 21 (10 votes)
Comment by david_reinstein on Salary Negotiation for Earning to Give · 2019-04-13T14:58:40.367Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · EA · GW
How would you ensure people stick to their promise to donate and don't just use the advice/time for non-earning-to-give causes.

1. We could offer this only to those who already have a public verified record of substantial EA giving.

This would seem to be a reasonable filter/screen on honesty. It is possible that such people would take advantage and not keep the promise to donate the additional amount, but it seems unlikely. Perhaps there are people with a consequentialist ethic who want to help effectively and donate a lot, but are nonetheless willing to be dishonest and swindle fellow-EA-ers, but it doesn't seem terribly possible.

Note that even if people did not consistently donate the additional negotiated salary, this would still serve as a 'reward' for public EA donors, perhaps encouraging others to follow suit.

2. I would suggest that the negotiator/EA sponsor ask them to state their expected salary and salary range and then afterwards to state the amount they were able to negotiate and the amount they had donated. People will probably be less willing to default on their promise if doing so requires explicitly stating this or lying about it.

Comment by david_reinstein on Salary Negotiation for Earning to Give · 2019-04-13T14:52:24.365Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · EA · GW

Trigger warning: contains some academic economics palaver and self-promotion.

Classical economics arguments

The case (as in 'no Lean Season') seems to depend on inefficient behavior/job applicants leaving money on the table. If there were such great gains to negotiating why wouldn't the applicants always hire a negotiator? This lends some credence to those saying that there is a cost in terms of rescinded offers. In some sense, this would mean that if the EA community offered free negotiating services in exchange for such a pledge, they would be gambling with the applicant's funds.

*So what might be the case to still justify this?*

Behavioral and modern economics/psychology

1. Psychology/biases in giving

This is not necessarily a bad thing. If the applicant is willing to take such a risk, this might be a good way to indirectly elicit donations. It also relates to the give if you win mode I have been researching.

2. Biases in negotiating

This also might be a 'nudge towards negotiating'; perhaps people are reluctant to stick their neck out and negotiate for themselves because of some intrinsic psychological bias, but they might be willing to do so with the support of the EA community, and knowing that it would lead to helping effective causes, well bringing them some positive reputation in the process.

3. Psychology and 'biases' in volunteering

This may unlock the volunteer services of expert negotiators in a particularly effective way. Because of the signaling benefits (it's more public!), corporate rewards, and internalised feeling of impact people may be more willing to volunteer than to donate the equivalent amount in terms of the value of the time. This relates to my proposal for the Corporate bake sale.

4. Synergies enabled by cooperation between altruists

In Principal-Agent problems there is a well-known inefficiency that results from the combination of hidden information and either limited-liability or asymmetric risk-preferences. This is essentially why economists believe (and have some evidence) that real estate agents usually get a lower price when they sell a house for someone else vs. their own house.

However, if the negotiator here is EA-aligned, their interests will better converge, and there is an efficiency gain to be had here. (A bunch of papers make this case ... about the efficiency gains resulting from altruism on one side or the other, including my own paper on the theoretical argument for 'fair trade'.

Employee Giving incentives: A shared database... relevant for EA job-seekers and activists

2018-05-19T09:37:01.877Z · score: 8 (8 votes)
Comment by david_reinstein on Wiki/Survey: Experiences in fundraising/convincing people/organisations to support EA causes · 2017-11-29T11:00:40.844Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · EA · GW

Thank you; I had not seen this before. It is very helpful and I will strive to incorporate this.

Wiki/Survey: Experiences in fundraising/convincing people/organisations to support EA causes

2017-11-25T19:34:06.732Z · score: 3 (3 votes)
Comment by david_reinstein on Give if you win (innovation in fundraising) · 2017-06-05T12:00:21.382Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · EA · GW

For banks and big corporations to want to join, there probably needs to be a greater sense of assurance that their signing up will actually lead to the publicity you suggest there would be.

I agree. It would be good to think of ways to line up endorsement and positive publicity in advance. Still, I think it depends on the cost-benefit calculation. If they can try this without much effort or risk, they might be willing to do so internally and roll out the PR gradually.

That in mind, it's plausible that 1. cancer charities would do better than an investment in something westerners aren't personally affected by, such as schistosomiasis, and 2. that one big check to one big organization will garner more attention than many checks to a myriad of organizations.

Domestic charities and charities like CRUK will typically tend to do better in general, I suspect. However, i. increasing the overall volume of giving should increase effective giving at least proportionally and ii. more so if we focus on this in the promotions and work with EA supporters in organisations.

Developing approaches to get people outside of the EA movement to support EA charities is a separate and very important one (e.g., Deloitte could have at least one international/effective charity partnership. I'm working on this as well (I hope to update soon about the wiki and other things people can engage in.)

I would be very keen to work with a big, known charity. It may not be the highest-rated EA charity, but it would be good to partner with one that is at least somewhere on the EA spectrum even if not perfect (an Oxfam, MSF, Comic Relief, etc).

Give if you win (innovation in fundraising)

2017-05-26T19:36:09.542Z · score: 11 (11 votes)
Comment by david_reinstein on The value of money going to different groups · 2017-05-24T17:19:59.095Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · EA · GW

Thank you Toby. The 'preference over gambles' as a way of measuring diminishing marginal utility will depend strongly on the expected utility maximization assumption; in practice, it could be vulnerable to reference-point effects I believe. (Also the logarithmic utility function is obviously an imposed parametric assumption, but a good start.)

Still, these approaches seem reasonable, especially insofar as broadly similar results come from varying contexts.

Comment by david_reinstein on Are Giving Games a better way to teach philanthropy? · 2017-05-24T17:14:23.435Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · EA · GW

Thank you. It sounds somewhat similar to some economics experiments involving charity that I have seen, but of course with a different goal in mind. I will look into this -- I am curious also about the evidence one might collect from such games, especially about which arguments people have found convincing, and which approaches have convinced people to choose the more effective charities.

Comment by david_reinstein on The value of money going to different groups · 2017-05-20T18:29:50.698Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · EA · GW

I like this article and I agree with the argument in principle, but I'd like to see a bit more information presented about how the elasticity parameter is estimated.

In other words, what data has been used to compute this parameter? Experiments where people make choices among different lotteries? Implicit choices where people make tradeoffs involving risk? Stated preferences over comparisons of societal distributions of wealth?

Comment by david_reinstein on The value of money going to different groups · 2017-05-20T18:23:46.458Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · EA · GW

That page is good, but it would be better if they could give an apples-to-apples comparison. There must be domestic US charities that aim to save lives domestically, from which a 'cost per life saved' estimate could be drawn. ... Or a developing country charity that provides a similar service as the US charities mentioned (education, neo-natal care, etc), from which many more people could be serverd for the same $.

Comment by david_reinstein on Open Thread #36 · 2017-05-20T18:17:00.202Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · EA · GW

Moving to a low-income foreign country could indirectly help the people in that country, if you buy goods and pay taxes there, create jobs, etc.

Comment by david_reinstein on Open Thread #36 · 2017-05-20T18:15:26.965Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · EA · GW

Not sure what a DAF stands for. On retirement, buying an inflation-adjusted annuity could be a good of assuring you can donate a particular amount in your will while ensuring a steady income until you die.

Comment by david_reinstein on Modelling the Good Food Institute - Oxford Prioritisation Project · 2017-05-20T18:12:01.473Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · EA · GW

My thoughts, apologies if I am just reiterating what you already know.

It seems like there are 3 very difficult things to get a ballpark estimate of:

  1. The likelihood of developing a successful fake chicken as a function of the number of investment dollars. This seems like a scientific/technical question. The impact-driven EA investor will want to know the impact of his/her $1 on this probability, i.e., the slope of this given the likely level of other's investment. I.e., if I expect others will invest $1 million, I consider how the probability of a chicken differs when investment increases from $1 million to $1 million +1. (Or to $1 million + 1*leverage multiplier, see below).

  2. The multiplier effect of a (donated) investment dollar, including both a. The leverage of a dollar (how much more you could borrow at a reasonable interest rate with an additional dollar of equity collateral); I think this could be estimated under some reasonable assumptions b. The effect of an additional investment dollar on subsequent investors/altruists willingness to invest. This seems like the hardest thing to calculate, and it is not completely clear whether that effect should even be positive. This is the 'seed money' question. It might be that when altruists see a greater amount of investment already, they see their own contribution as less vital, and invest less.

  3. The likely overall distribution of total amount invested; the $1 million in the example in part 1.

Comment by david_reinstein on Are Giving Games a better way to teach philanthropy? · 2017-05-20T17:55:43.179Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · EA · GW

Briefly, how do you define/describe 'Giving Games'?