If you have a friend at these organisations who isn’t using up their allowance, it doesn’t seem like fraud to just pass them money to donate in their name. The company offers these deals to attract good employees and look good to customers. As long as the options is still perceived as a benefit to the employee (even if they do it with someone else’s money), and the donations appeal to customers, they shouldn’t mind.
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Here’s one way to make giving decisions more conspicuous, public tax returns:
Farfetched perhaps, for anyone except the Norwegians!
I’ve heard many reports that microloans are typically used as a way of ‘saving down’ for significant consumer purchases to avoid the temptation to spend savings before they build up (e.g. http://www.econtalk.org/archives/2011/04/munger_on_micro.html). By helping them commit to saving, this is likely to incrementally improve people’s lives, but it won’t lead to much higher incomes. And as you say, can be addressed with savings accounts, or rotating savings and credit associations, rather than charity.
Has Vegan Outreach ever done a before-after survey of a campus, or better yet, an RCT on the impact of their pamphleting? This wouldn’t be very expensive.
It should be possible to trace the persistence of veg’nism over time using longitudinal surveys of eating habits that already exist.
Also note that while bringing forward vegetarianism by 25 years is probably an overstatement for most converts, social influence studies (described in Change of Heart) suggest that each person who makes a life change convinces more than one other person to do the same just by setting the example. I expect this is an overestimate, but it’s still likely to be an important effect.
Combined with Brian’s point about the impact on people who don’t immediately convert, the total 25 extra years of vegetarianism doesn’t seem unreasonably high. Evidence on this point would be great to collect though.
Yes that’s from the Animal Activist’s Handbook. If you can’t get a copy of it I could find you the specific reference.
Someone who was adventurous/curious could probably find a study of graduates looking at the effect of degrees controlling for intelligence.
Alex Tabarrok in his book Launching the Innovation Renaissance discusses how enrolments in the qualitative subjects have gone through the roof in recent decades, relative to quantitative ones. This probably explains some of why career prospects for graduates in those fields have become so dim. Unfortunately, we just don’t need that many research psychologists!
I also like these interviews. Can suggestions for promising people to interview be emailed to me at: robert dot wiblin at 80000hours dot org.
This is a great topic of research for anyone else who wants to get on board, either to inform their own career choices or those of others! Did you ever delve far into it Joey?
I think this casts serious doubt on the cost effectiveness of the approach, though I can’t claim to have checked the methods used in the references, and this is a debate in which you might expect some chicanery: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fair_trade_debate#What_happens_to_the_money
It is possible the Fair Trade makes the world a better place, though not certain, because of some of the drawbacks noted in the articles above. However, I would be surprised if it was a highly effective way of helping the poor. In terms of putting money into the hands of the world’s poor, GiveDirectly is likely to do a better job than the indirect, fragile and sub-optimally targetted method used by Fair Trade: http://www.givedirectly.org/ .
The main upside of Fair Trade is that it is a meme with spreading power. But if you can make a more effective idea catch on, even better!
A well-run boycott seems like an effective way of drawing attention to a problem. I expect whether you choose the right thing to boycott is key. As Brad observes, the full effect of your actions can often be unclear.
There is also problem in some cases that if one organisation stops doing X due to a boycott, another organisation will start doing it instead. You see the direct effect, but not the indirect ones.