Avatar

David Reinstein

Senior Economist at Rethink Priorities

About

I’m a Senior Economist at Rethink Priorities, a think tank associated with the Effective Altruism movement. As part of the social science ‘survey team’, I work to measure/understand/influence attitudes/beliefs/actions relevant to global priorities. I also engage with other teams to measure the impact of interventions. My ongoing research into barriers to, and motivators of effective giving is funded by an independent grant. Before joining RP I was a Senior Lecturer in Economics at the University of Exeter.

Learn more

Projects

Podcasts and media

Learn more

Latest posts

2019

  • An oversimplified argument for why "Virtue Signaling" is a good thing.

    “These people are just virtue signaling”; in the popular internet discourse this has come to mean “these people are just doing a useless activity to impress their friends”. But there is a stronger argument that “virtue signaling” is a good thing… People to do good for a social reward is how our society works (Adam Smith Institute’s Bowman makes a similar point). An oversimplified explanation from Economics/game theory: “Signaling” can only work if the action that sends the signal conveys information about an individual’s type For it to be informative, only those who are virtuous must want to do the action that sends the signal Thus it must be more costly for the baddies to do this action than for the goodies.

  • A corporate skills bake sale?

    Large companies generously offer to support employee ‘pro-bono’ work and volunteer work, offering set-aside days and even donations matching hours; (documented in my “innovationsinfundraising.org” database here). They are in general more willing to do this than to donate directly, or to match employee contributions. However, there is often a skills mismatch; few people can be as productive when volunteering for a charity as they are in their main job (although orgs like BeyondMe try to improve things).

  • A bridge towards open-access

    Has anyone ever considered… Asking existing (e.g.) Elsevier academic editors to take a ‘pledge’ to handle and review papers for ‘journal equivalents’; e.g., I agree to handle submissions, and send this out to reviewers who will review this as if it were an article submitted to Nature, and if it makes it through the peer review process it will be published on an open-access site with the certification “This paper has been peer reviewed and accepted as of equivalent quality to a paper published in Nature”.

More posts

CV

(Link: full CV) I’m a Senior Economist at Rethink Priorities, a think tank associated with the Effective Altruism movement. As part of the social science ‘survey team’, I work to measure/understand/influence attitudes/beliefs/actions relevant to global priorities. I also engage with other teams to measure the impact of interventions. My ongoing research into barriers to, and motivators of effective giving is funded by an independent grant. I have 25 years of experience in academic research, teaching, and outreach, at UC Berkeley, the University of Essex and the University of Exeter, and in other consulting and teaching roles.

Learn more