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What to do with the money – Cash in the News

This week, The New York Times published two articles about effective altruism: one profiling Cari Tuna and Dustin Moskovitz on their donations via Good Ventures, and the other on choice in charitable giving. In an interview in The Chronicle of Philanthropy, Dean Karlan spoke highly of GiveDirectly and our rigorous scientific evaluations. And in basic income news, Elon Musk expressed his support for basic income and Ontario announced some details on their new proposed basic income test.

GIVEDIRECTLY IN THE NEWS AND BLOGS

1. Podcast: Getting the Facts on What Beats Poverty
The Chronicle of Philanthropy, Denver Frederick and Dean Karlan, November 4, 2016
I’m a big fan of what they’re doing. I was not one of the researchers, but IPA as an organization, did lead the randomized trial to evaluate GiveDirectly and found some really nice results… and nothing deleterious. I think one of the most important results from that study… not to sound too negative… but one of the most important results was actually beating down a negative story– that a lot of people were concerned that money would get spent on things like alcohol and tobacco.

2. Philanthropy in Silicon Valley: Big Bets on Big Ideas
The New York Times, Vindu Goel, November 4, 2016
The couple eventually made substantial donations to programs identified by GiveWell, including nearly $30 million to the Against Malaria Foundation, which distributes mosquito nets to reduce malaria infections among children in Africa, and more than $47 million to GiveDirectly, a program that gives cash directly to extremely poor people in Kenya and Uganda.
 


CASH TRANSFER NEWS


3. UNICEF Commends Zambia for Social Cash Transfer
Lusaka Times, November 6, 2016
The United Nations International Children’s’ Emergency Fund (UNICEF) has commended the Zambian government for scaling up the social cash transfer (SCT) scheme in an effort to reduce extreme poverty among selected beneficiaries in the country.

4. You Asked, We Answer: Can Microloans Lift Women Out Of Poverty?
NPR Goats and Soda, Nurith Aizeman, November 1, 2016
How to explain it? Abhijit Banerjee, an economist at MIT and another author of prominent studies of microfinance, says in theory these findings suggest that extremely poor people served by microloans are somehow inherently bad at business. But he notes that other studies have found that poor people can substantially boost their income if they’re given a cash grant or a free asset — for example, some livestock — to use in a business. So Banerjee argues a better explanation could be that microloans have features that make them less suited to launching people into small business.

EFFECTIVE ALTRUISM

5. A Charity Offers Donors More Control Over Where Their Funds Go
The New York Times, Ann Carrns, November 4, 2016
Catherine Hollander, outreach associate with the nonprofit group GiveWell, said “earmarked” gifts may hamper a charity’s ability to accomplish its mission effectively. Her advice is to do your homework and find a charity you feel confident in, then let it spend your money as it sees fit. GiveWell does intensive research, which it publishes on its website, and then recommends a handful of charities it deems highly effective.



BASIC INCOME

6. Elon Musk says there’s a ‘pretty good chance’ universal basic income will become reality
Tech Insider, Chris Weller, November 7, 2016
“There’s a pretty good chance we end up with a universal basic income, or something like that, due to automation,” the Tesla CEO said in an interview with CNBC on November 4. “I’m not sure what else one would do. That’s what I think would happen.”

7. Ontario should test out plan for ‘basic income’: Editorial
The Toronto Star, Editorial, November 7, 2016
The idea of providing a basic minimum income for everyone – no strings attached – is an alluring one that has been kicked around for decades. Now the Ontario government is edging closer to testing the idea with a proposal that highlights both some of the advantages and many of the problems inherent in the idea.

8. Ontario Seeking Input on Basic Income Pilot
Ontario, Ministry of Community and Social Services, November 3, 2016
The pilot would test whether a basic income is a more effective way of lifting people out of poverty and improving health, housing and employment outcomes. Through the consultations, Ontario is seeking input from across the province, including from people with lived experience, municipalities, experts and academics. The province will also work with Indigenous partners to tailor a culturally appropriate engagement process that reflects the advice and unique perspective of First Nations, urban Indigenous, Métis and Inuit communities.