Denkenberger comments on Open Thread #38 - Effective Altruism Forum

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Comment author: Denkenberger 22 August 2017 10:20:51PM 3 points [-]

I have found it helpful in talking about donating large percentages of salary to be able to point out how many people do similar amounts of sacrifice. One comparison that has been made was with being vegetarian. But this is hard to compare and still only a few percent of people. More common is people taking a 10% pay cut for positive impact of their job, or donating 10% of their free time (which I am saying is roughly 40 hours per week if one has a full-time job (comments here)). I tried to get some rough estimates of the rates of these behaviors, but has anyone else done it more rigorously or would like to do it?

Comment author: ThomasSittler 24 August 2017 09:31:26PM *  1 point [-]
Comment author: Denkenberger 26 August 2017 12:02:13AM *  1 point [-]


Rough summary % of US population

Giving 10%+: Time: 7%; Pay cut: 20%; Donate: 6%

Giving 20%+: Time: 2%; Pay cut: 10%; Donate: 0.6%

This is based on 40 hours per week free time. The take away (that I believe is robust despite uncertainty explained below) is that people are much more willing to take a big pay cut than to donate a similar percent of money. So if we could get people over the psychological barrier, we might be able to convince 20% of people to be EAs.

Furthermore, at least in the US, donating 10% of your pretax (adjusted gross income) is a smaller economic hit than taking a 10% pay cut because not all income is taxed. This would mean even more than 20% of people take a pay cut that is equivalent to donating 10%.

Volunteering source: bins are not perfect.

Pay cut source, government employment source, nonprofit employment source. Of course there can be other differences in employment like job security, benefits, and hours. However, this is not accounting for people who choose a lower paying field for the impact, so it gives some idea.

Giving source: percentages are for religious giving, which is ~half of giving in US, so I doubled the percentages to get the people giving that amount to any charity: rough.

Comment author: Peter_Hurford  (EA Profile) 24 August 2017 03:25:12AM 1 point [-]

You could look at the forthcoming 2017 EA Survey data, or try looking at the past 2015 EA Survey and 2014 EA Survey.

Comment author: Denkenberger 24 August 2017 09:36:48PM 0 points [-]

Thanks, but I was referring to the rates of taking a lower salary (e.g. to nonprofit or government), etc in the general population. I am talking to people who are outside of EA at this point and not sure about committing to donating 10%.