Paul_Christiano comments on Announcing the 2017 donor lottery - Effective Altruism Forum

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Comment author: Paul_Christiano 22 December 2017 04:58:47AM *  2 points [-]

What are the biggest upsides of transparency?

The actual value of the information produced seems modest.

Comment author: persis 24 December 2017 10:06:26AM 0 points [-]

What are the biggest upsides of transparency?

Two specific upsides that come to mind:

  1. If the winner chooses to use the opportunity to research a novel or speculative cause area, intervention or charity which they might not otherwise have thought worth their time. I could see a lot of learning value in this.

  2. If the winner's incentive to enter the lottery is purely because it's a lottery and with a large enough contribution to the pool they like their odds at being able to influence more money towards their preferred charity. This would be contrary to the expected reason for entering i.e. to research impactful donation opportunities. I'm not sure if this is likely to happen, or if it even matters if some participants are incentivised to behave like this, but I'd be curious to learn if it happened.

A generic upside to transparency is just general learning value from research, which I agree might be modest. Although that also depends on variables like: how thorough the winner's research is, whether they rely on popular findings in EA or branch out, how informed the readers are, etc.