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October 06, 2007


Greg Sanders

I think you might be risking an additional factor to the experiment by donating the proceeds to charity.

Since we're achieving a good in exchange, I don't think we can count this as a charitable donation. But it still does kinda count for moral purposes. I know I first bought my Salon subscription when they were donating proceeds to Tsunami victims.


I've done something similar with my photographs. Every once in awhile I get a request to use one for some "worthwhile" purpose (once it was a farmer's cooperative, for example).

I send them the copy, but then tell them to take the negotiated fee and send it to a local charity of their choice. There are taken aback, but then "get it" and are pleased with the arrangement.

I'd participate, but I'm now in my post-materialist phase and don't buy books anymore. I take them out of the library. My local public library is pretty good about ordering books that aren't too obscure and interlibrary borrowing those that are.

This way I ensure that others are exposed to works I think are worth reading. I'll try this with Dani Rodrik's book and see how it works out. Surprisingly if I bought the book and donated it to the library they wouldn't accept it. Strange are the workings of some institutions.

(I'm being a bit unfair, the processing effort of a donation can make it more expensive then ordering the book from a supplier who prepares books for libraries.)


(From a long time reader but first time contributor.)
One important difference between Radiohead's and Dani's experiments is the probability that information about one's behavior will shape our reputation. For example, unless Radiohead publishes a list of payments online or I am close friends with technical staff working for Radiohead, I do not risk having my contribution known. With Dani's payment system, since many blog-readers may hope to someday meet Dani, we may not want to signal to him our lack of altruism from a low payment (or conversely our irrationality from a large payment).


Given the existence of 2 systems: a system where the items have a set value and another where people can pay any price but risk not being selected. It would seem to me that price sensitive people would be the ones to bid for the book while those who are less sensitive to prices would simply buy the book and not bother with the experiment except for jollies.

There is another element of altruism here that will throw things off as people offering money to Dani will be promoting their own ends through this measure, which is unlike most transactions.

I am not sure that most readers will be overly concerned about Dani's opinions though given that this is an experiment and he is a social scientist.

Annette Richter

Hi Dani,

I wanted your reaction to a free trade topic that is more political than economic- but interesting (at least to me).

Tomorrow (Sunday) Costa Rica is holding a referendum to get out of CAFTA. The White House's warning is "don't think you'll keep getting those preferential treatments under the Caribbean Basin Initiatives, which are running out next year" Message from house democrats seems to imply divorcing CAFTA from these benefits (so an implicit promise to keep up preferential treatment).

From my experience in Costa Rica- I can share that CAFTA is really unpopular there (traffic jam/ student protests/ 3am demonstrations unpopular).

So I just had to ask- on the topic of preferences- what do you think when an entire country articulates really strong preferences against free trade?


I did a google search for more information on the Costa Rica referendum on CAFTA. I found it here:


I've read nothing about the referendum. I didn't know it was happening today.

It's an important story. Why hasn't it been in our mainstream press?

That it has been buried is an excellent example of why people should get their news from the Internet.

Per Kurowski

Well I would gladly do the same thing with 20 ex. of my Voice and Noise and which I hereby put to Dani Rodrick’s disposal and I will wait for his list of which addresses to send them to. (Even though you might feel urged I will not cover any express delivery charges)

Now given market conditions and being myself only a humble MBA, from long ago and from far away, I need to be more flexible on the conditions and so I will send the book for free to the first 20 that actually commit to read (some chapters) of my Voice and Noise it and run the risk of being quizzed on a chapter of their choice. And I cross my fingers that I do not have to up my offer by giving them away to those who charge me the less for reading it.

Mr. Todd

why is it $35 on amazon, good lord!? thats a lot of cheerios.

eh i'll buy it anyway

Ken Houghton

Dang. Knew I should have been reading blogs this past couple of weeks.

I would certainly participate in Dr. Kurowski's offer, but would suggest that he convert some chapters into PDF format (the requesters could request specific chapters, based on Amazon's ToC listing) and require that requesters "earn" a full copy of the book by posting their discussion of the chapters requested, with a link to its blog (http://voiceandnoise.blogspot.com/).

At least, I suspect that would be the optimal distribution method. YMMV.

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