The charity tax

The estimated social pressure cost of saying no to a solicitor is $3.5 for an in-state charity and $1.4 for an out-of-state charity. Our welfare calculations suggest that our door-to-door fund-raising campaigns on average lower utility of the potential donors.

That's from Stefano DellaVigna, John List, and Ulrike Malmendier.  You'll find an ungated copy here.


I think that is a pretty silly waste of time - how can you compare the utility of these individuals, the moment in time that they feel bad, the moment they feel better after deciding to give, the later moment in life when they feel guilty for never giving to charity, or what if they have a lovely talk with the person who visits them? It is a classic example of a ridiculous economist trying to measure welfare.

Speaking of things that lower utility, I absolutely hate those javascript-enabled links on the side of the page that pop up a preview window - and Firefox does not seem to let me just turn those off--so while we're discussing utility-reducing things, can you guys please stop using them. They have reduced my MR browsing by about 40% since you guys added them. They make me nauseous and frustrated.

Maybe I am missing something that happens outside of New York. But I would never think of giving to people who came to my door asking for money. I don't know anyone who does this. So for me the whole experiment seems odd.

Those popups ARE really annoying.

Ditto on the "glue" popups. They are VILE!!!!!!!!!

Remove the popups!


It is GetGlue that is the problem.

Maybe they should rename it GetAnnoyed.
Or GetAnnoyedReaders.

liberty: You can block them with Adblockplus rule*

Add me to the pigpile objecting to the autopopups.

What am I missing about these ads that is causing such annoyance? Don't these links require mouseover for the pop-up to appear? And doesn't the pop-up disappear quickly once you move your mouse? I've even tried dropping my screen width to 1280 and I don't have any issue accidentally triggering them; I didn't even realize they included popups until this thread complained about them.

You all should be using a different browser. I'm using chrome and have zero pop-ups.

The pop-ups seemed to be fixed (as in, gone away). I, for one, am much relieved.

i like the ads on this site -- they make me realize what smart and prestigious hosts i am in the company of.

What about people that help with a donate car campaign. What do you have to say about those people that offer so much for others?

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