Bill Harbaugh at Money, Happiness and Generosity

Pure altruism, Bill Harbaugh argues, is diluted by the number of people who benefit from our generosity. For example, if one gives money to a low-income individual, he or she benefits by seeing the level of well-being in the other person increase. However, many other people, who gave nothing, also get to see the level of well-being in that low-income individual person increase. This “free ride”, Harbaugh argues makes pure altruistic giving very inefficient in terms of happiness to the giver.

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