The economics of street charity

Freakonomics/NYT holds a symposium, including me, Nassim Taleb, Barbara Ehrenreich, Arthur Brooks, and Mark Cuban, with guest comments from Roland Fryer and Stephen Dubner.  My first sentence:

I’m not keen on giving money to the beggar.

Here is another bit of mine:

Oddly, the case for giving to the beggar may be stronger if he is an alcoholic.  Alcoholism increases the chance that he is asking for the money randomly, rather than pursuing some well-calculated strategy of wastefully investing resources into begging.  But in that case, I expect the gift will be squandered on booze, so I still don’t want to give him the money.


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