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Economics and Effective Altruism

In my last post, I wrote that effective altruism does not, in and of itself, imply any particular approach (e.g. political campaigning, donating to charity, etc.). Effective altruists are perhaps most often criticized for supporting charities, but a straw poll on the Effective Altruism Facebook group (undoubtedly a selected sample) showed even more people were in favour of “systemic” change focused on “creating incremental improvements to society’s political, economic, legal institutions and cultural norms.” Economists have done studies relating to both these approaches, with varying degrees of success, and I feel should engage more with the effective altruism community to share what they’ve learned.

I will actually be speaking at the Effective Altruism Global summit in SF this weekend, sharing my work on how much we can generalize from impact evaluations. If any economists would be interested in speaking at EA Global next year, let me know.

Will MacAskill’s book on effective altruism, reviewed over at Marginal Revolution, is coming out today. It’s remarkable how rapidly the label has spread.

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