Charity Won't Contain This Secondary Market

Each year I receive about 10 introductory economics textbooks from publishers. The purpose is to induce me to adopt the book in my 500-student principles class...

iPhone Altruism for Potential Organ Donors

Organ donation is one of the most altruistic things a person can do. And yet, Chapter 3 of SuperFreakonomics spells out, relying on altruism for organ donations has proved to be largely unsuccessful. There are a lot of reasons people give for not signing up as organ donors.

What Can Adorable Robots Teach Us About Altruism?

Kacie Kinzer's robots have always depended on the kindness of strangers.

What Is Altruism?

My 9-year-old granddaughter announced, “I feel very sorry for my friend Olivia.” “Why?” her father asked her. “Because I will be away and won’t be able to attend her birthday party,” she replied. This struck me as a typical child’s self-centered behavior. But another way of looking at it is that it’s the epitome of […]

Turning One Kidney Into Ten

Economist Al Roth has an interesting blog post that describes how one altruistic kidney donor saved 10 lives. Here's how it worked.

One of the things Roth has been working
on, given the repugnance many noneconomists feel about paying for organs, is creating chains of organ donations. Many people who need kidney transplants have a donor who is willing to donate one, but who is not a good match for the recipient.

Our Daily Bleg: What's a Responsible American to Do?

The average responsible, fiscally prudent, law-abiding American can be forgiven for feeling not just battered by the recession but also confused. In recent months, she has simultaneously been frightened into tightening her purse strings while also being scolded for not buying more things so that people can keep their jobs. She is also told that […]

Spending Your Money While Donating It

We’ve blogged about the utility of altruism, and speculated that pay-as-you-wish commerce could be the way of the future. As it turns out, GOOD magazine has just combined them both: pay what you wish for a year’s subscription, and the magazine will donate your entire payment to one of a dozen select charities.

You Find Some, You Lose Some

Several months ago, I blogged about a woman who left her diamond ring in a restaurant washroom for just a short time but lost it forever. Now here’s a story that runs in the opposite direction. Daniel Packer of Mervis Diamond Importers in Tyson’s Corner, Va., wrote in with the details: Last week, someone walked […]

A Different Climate Change Apocalypse Than the One You Were Envisioning

Let’s say you are convinced that climate change is a huge threat and will have catastrophic consequences for humankind in the foreseeable future. How exactly do you envision that catastrophe playing out? Most people I speak with, and most accounts I’ve read and seen, lean toward the apocalyptic. But what are the mechanisms by which […]

How Pure Is Your Altruism?

We’ve had a lot of conversations on this blog about charitable contributions. For instance: where people like to give, and why; how a young philanthropist should disburse $70 million; whether to give to a street beggar, a hot dog vendor, or neither. So let’s start one more conversation on the subject. There have been a […]