Rationality: The science of winning, Part II

This is part II of a little series on the importance of rationality and applied rational decision-making (click here for part I). Optimal decision-making Perhaps the misconception that rationality is associated with e.g. robot-like Mr. Spock comes from having unrealistic standards. The normative model of rationality describes ideal decision-making. Humans are far from ideal thinkers, […]

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Rationality: The science of winning, Part I

On December 26th, 1983, the Soviet early-warning system for nuclear attacks reported a missile being launched from the United States. Shortly after, the system reported four more missiles underway. Stanislas Petrov, the sole officer on duty, was confronted with a monumental decision: Should he follow proper procedure and raise alarm, alerting the highest military officials […]

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An introduction to malaria prevention

Malaria needs little introduction. It’s a mosquito borne disease that is one of the leading killers of children in poor countries, causing about a million deaths a year. It also imposes a huge burden through half a billion non-fatal infections a year. Yet it can be prevented very cheaply, with bednets that cost about $6 […]

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An introduction to cash transfers

Giving a “cash transfer” is another way of saying that you’re giving people money. That’s it. Nothing fancy. Yet it’s one of the most effective things you can do to fight poverty. Just put the power into the hands of those who need it and let them decide what they need. The nonprofit that we […]

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How to NOT pick a charity

by Adriano Mannino and Tobias Pulver Imagine two charities that both fight a particular disease in a poor country. Donating to charity_1 means that 95% of your money goes directly to the cause (buying and distributing medicine), while only 5% is spent on salaries and other expenses. Donating to charity_2 means that 70% of your […]

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GiveWell Charity Poker Tournament on December 17th

Please join us for the inaugural Raising For Effective Giving Charity tournament presented by the WPT foundation. Come and play alongside some of poker’s biggest names to raise money for REG’s excellent causes. The tournament will receive television coverage as part of the Alpha8 TV show and food and drinks will be provided. All registrations […]

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Big win for charity at WSOP Main Event 2014!

REG players Jacobson and van Hoof finish in first and third place On the nights of November 10th and 11th, Raising for Effective Giving was represented at the final table of the WSOP Main Event 2014 by Martin Jacobson and Jorryt van Hoof. Together with seven other players, they made up the November Nine, the […]

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The case for giving now: A reply to Rupert Elder

by Lukas Gloor and Adriano Mannino 1. Identifying points of leverage If something is important to us, such that we want to do it as well as possible (as opposed to just doing it in the way people commonly do it), then it’s crucial to put in a lot of thought and always be on the […]

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Giving locally vs. globally: Where can we do the most good?

“Charity begins at home” is a popular idea. At REG we’re not interested in whether ideas are popular, though, but in whether they’re based on good evidence. Where do the arguments lead in the “local vs. global” debate? One might intuitively think there are special obligations towards “local” people. But what justifies this intuition? (It’s […]

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“Charity ain’t for me, I’m a hedonist, you see!”

This is a curious objection charity sometimes gets. It is curious first because the term “hedonist” actually just means “someone who tries to maximize happiness”. You can be an egoistic hedonist and care about your own happiness only; an altruistic hedonist and care about the happiness of everyone equally; or any combination of the two. Unfortunately, […]

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Splitting II: Feeling good about doing good

Start here for part I on splitting. If people have several motivations for donating to charity, sometimes it might make sense to split donations in order to optimize the outcome for each motivation separately. Our previous post looked at splitting one’s donation budget from the perspective of wanting to achieve the most in terms of […]

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To split or not to split – part 1

Should we put all our dollars into one charity, or does it make more sense to diversify our charitable investment? The answer to this question depends on both the personal goals that motivate one’s donations, as well as on the specifics of the charities in question. 1. The goal: helping others Let’s first consider the […]

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