0958: "Hotels"

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Re: 0958: "Hotels"

Postby KShrike » Fri Sep 30, 2011 1:00 pm UTC

AvatarIII wrote:
Kayangelus wrote:only problem is that given how many people read xkcd, now I have a feeling a lot of people are going to start doing this.


Doubtful, I think xkcd's readership is intelligent enough to realise that it would be pointless, every hotel has bad reviews anyway, but if I go to trip advisor and a hotel has 400 five star reviews and 8 one star reviews, even if the 1 star reviews are all genuine, it still means I'm 50 times more likely to have a 5 star experience than a 1 star experience, and to be honest, that's good enough odds for me.

Of course it would be pointless! You know what a joke is, sir?

Jokes don't have to be realistic. It's just funny that BHG is being a complete ass, as he always is.
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Re: 0958: "Hotels"

Postby J L » Fri Sep 30, 2011 1:28 pm UTC

jestingrabbit wrote:
J L wrote:
jestingrabbit wrote:
Kurz wrote:Could somebody explain, what the last sentence ("If you're quick with a knife...") could possibly mean?
I don't get it...
(Sry, I'm a non-native english speaker and I'm currently trying to improve my English)


There's sort of missing middle part of the sentence, "If you're quick with a knife you can kill and eat the invisible hand and you'll find the invisible hand is made of delicious meat" or something like that anyway. There's an implication that the black hat man is eating the invisible hand, anyway.


My question exactly. You mean like, the invisible hand of the market, as in economics?


Yes, that's right. The black hat guy is, metaphorically, killing and eating the invisible hand, by trying to make the hotel goers act against their better interests.

Similarly, I am metaphorically killing the joke, by trying to explain it to others.


I'm sorry for that, and appreciate the explanation.

However, if according to Wikipedia, channeling "ambition toward meeting the needs of society, even if the ambitious had no benevolent intentions" is what the hand is all about, your post served as a wonderful example indeed.

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Re: 0958: "Hotels"

Postby austinbenji » Fri Sep 30, 2011 1:30 pm UTC

Wouldn't this more appropriately be called a Prisoner's Dilemma? It's most beneficial for all parties to give good review to good hotels, but the logic he uses in the argument to provide a bad review would appear to be mostly beneficial for him as an individual; whereas if everyone gives incorrect reviews, then there is no reliable system for determination and everyone must simply choose hotels at random.

*edit*
never mind, I suppose while it is also a Prisoner's Dilemma, it is more appropriately defined as Tragedy of the Commons.
Last edited by austinbenji on Fri Sep 30, 2011 1:36 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: 0958: "Hotels"

Postby Diadem » Fri Sep 30, 2011 1:30 pm UTC

jestingrabbit wrote:
J L wrote:
jestingrabbit wrote:
Kurz wrote:Could somebody explain, what the last sentence ("If you're quick with a knife...") could possibly mean?
I don't get it...
(Sry, I'm a non-native english speaker and I'm currently trying to improve my English)


There's sort of missing middle part of the sentence, "If you're quick with a knife you can kill and eat the invisible hand and you'll find the invisible hand is made of delicious meat" or something like that anyway. There's an implication that the black hat man is eating the invisible hand, anyway.


My question exactly. You mean like, the invisible hand of the market, as in economics?


Yes, that's right. The black hat guy is, metaphorically, killing and eating the invisible hand, by trying to make the hotel goers act against their better interests.

Similarly, I am metaphorically killing the joke, by trying to explain it to others.

If you're quick with a knife, you'll find that most jokes are made out of delicious joke meat.


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Re: 0958: "Hotels"

Postby gormster » Fri Sep 30, 2011 1:36 pm UTC

Image
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Re: 0958: "Hotels"

Postby AvatarIII » Fri Sep 30, 2011 1:43 pm UTC

KShrike wrote:
AvatarIII wrote:
Kayangelus wrote:only problem is that given how many people read xkcd, now I have a feeling a lot of people are going to start doing this.


Doubtful, I think xkcd's readership is intelligent enough to realise that it would be pointless, every hotel has bad reviews anyway, but if I go to trip advisor and a hotel has 400 five star reviews and 8 one star reviews, even if the 1 star reviews are all genuine, it still means I'm 50 times more likely to have a 5 star experience than a 1 star experience, and to be honest, that's good enough odds for me.

Of course it would be pointless! You know what a joke is, sir?

Jokes don't have to be realistic. It's just funny that BHG is being a complete ass, as he always is.


normally BHG is smarter about his schemes is all. i was a little surprised that he would go to that much effort for so little, if any, gain.

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Re: 0958: "Hotels"

Postby MechR » Fri Sep 30, 2011 2:03 pm UTC

someguyyy wrote:Alternate alt-text: "Rating: 1/5. Room filled to brim with bedbugs, and when front desk clerk opened mouth to talk, semen poured out."

Karilyn wrote:Bonus fun! Read the title text... swap the words "bedbugs" and "semen"

Thatsthejoke.jpg

Randall switched two words and turned something relatively sensical into nightmare fuel.

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Re: 0958: "Hotels"

Postby rcox1 » Fri Sep 30, 2011 2:14 pm UTC

chernobyl wrote:It's quite interesting how modern economics theory relies, mostly, on the assumption that everyone's a dick. SMBC did a comic on that yesterday, now xkcd.


I think economic theory accepts that given the opportunity everyone will be dick, however it also shows that in many cases not being a dick is more profitable, at least in the long term. A few months ago when SMBC whined because someone deep linked to the comic using the code and invitation provided on SMBC home page(I just checked and the invitation and code are still there), SMBC proved this as I no longer support them.

On a broader basis banks are on the verge of charging fees for consumers who use ATM cards at retailers. Presumably this is because banks can no longer charge arbitrarily high fees to retailer to run the cards. Stores jack up prices and then require a a data collection card to get the original price. Meat packers use the inspection process to keep competition to a non existant level. This behavior is sustainable in the short to mid term as rules have been set up to allow bad behavior to maximize profit at the expense efficiency. Which is not to say rules are bad. Rules limiting pollutions means that firms do not reduce costs by creating more pollution.

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Re: 0958: "Hotels"

Postby beav » Fri Sep 30, 2011 2:20 pm UTC

guffaw.

sometimes you stop trying to overthink the comic.

this is one of those comics.

great punchline.

well-played.

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Re: 0958: "Hotels"

Postby Wharrgarbl8 » Fri Sep 30, 2011 2:39 pm UTC

I find BHG's logic to be very flawed in this comic.

His logic is that his negative review will reduce demand. I can accept that.

But then he assumes his review is unlikely to cause the hotel to go out of business, so won't affect his future experience. But the effect of a hotel you loved going under (while unlikely) is much much worse than the higher probability of saving a few bucks. You can't just dismiss events that are unlikely and very costly. Also if his review is powerful enough to actually influence vacancies for 1-2 days, one year later then it certainly would have an effect on the hotel. He then assumes the hotel will react to this damage by maintaining his great experience at a lower price. Then the entire system has to be worth his time. Far too many layers of assumptions.

It's just bad business sense. You don't maliciously hurt your suppliers because you think businesses that are hurting have lower prices. No successful business in the world does that. Economic theory does NOT assume everyone is a malicious dick, it assumes everyone serves their interests. And no business I know of has found that expending effort to hurt their suppliers serves their interests.

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Re: 0958: "Hotels"

Postby chrisk » Fri Sep 30, 2011 3:26 pm UTC

austinbenji wrote:Wouldn't this more appropriately be called a Prisoner's Dilemma? It's most beneficial for all parties to give good review to good hotels, but the logic he uses in the argument to provide a bad review would appear to be mostly beneficial for him as an individual; whereas if everyone gives incorrect reviews, then there is no reliable system for determination and everyone must simply choose hotels at random.

*edit*
never mind, I suppose while it is also a Prisoner's Dilemma, it is more appropriately defined as Tragedy of the Commons.


Yes, the two concepts are very closely related - the most obvious difference being that Prisoner's Dilemma is the two-person version, and Tragedy of the Commons is for a generically 'large' number of people.

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Re: 0958: "Hotels"

Postby Vash » Fri Sep 30, 2011 3:28 pm UTC


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Re: 0958: "Hotels"

Postby Tyrannosaur » Fri Sep 30, 2011 3:31 pm UTC

hifi wrote:What with all the bobcat posts and the alt-alt-text here, I think this is one of those times when the thread's been funnier than the comic.


Instead of discussion, thread contained bobcats. Will visit again.
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Re: 0958: "Hotels"

Postby gamecreator » Fri Sep 30, 2011 3:33 pm UTC

Great. Directly after the comic I went to news.msn.com. This was the top article there.
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/44727191/ns/world_news-mideast_n_africa/
titled: OFFICIALS: RADICAL AMERICAN IMAM KILLED BY STRIKE IN YEMEN
which I immediately read as
OFFICIALS: RADICAL AMERICAN IMAM KILLED BY STRIKE BY SEMEN

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Re: 0958: "Hotels"

Postby rabidmuskrat » Fri Sep 30, 2011 3:40 pm UTC

AvatarIII wrote:normally BHG is smarter about his schemes is all. i was a little surprised that he would go to that much effort for so little, if any, gain.

That was pretty much my thoughts exactly. I can't say I was impressed with this one.

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Re: 0958: "Hotels"

Postby KrytenKoro » Fri Sep 30, 2011 3:46 pm UTC

kargoth wrote:
Karilyn wrote:Bonus fun! Read the title text... swap the words "bedbugs" and "semen"

...

You're welcome.


You're late. (By a few posts)

They're also missing the point of the title text entirely, in that Randall already switched those words.
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Re: 0958: "Hotels"

Postby Kirby » Fri Sep 30, 2011 3:52 pm UTC

Is it bad that the third panel made me think of Kant's categorical imperative?

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Re: 0958: "Hotels"

Postby A_of_s_t » Fri Sep 30, 2011 4:50 pm UTC

How does BHG's script get past all the captchas?
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Re: 0958: "Hotels"

Postby hg00000 » Fri Sep 30, 2011 5:10 pm UTC

A_of_s_t wrote:How does BHG's script get past all the captchas?


BHG must have created the algorithm from comic 810. (http://xkcd.com/810/)

Either that or he's trained bobcats...

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Re: 0958: "Hotels"

Postby Woopate » Fri Sep 30, 2011 5:36 pm UTC

Instead of captcha, image contained bobcats. Would not use again.

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Re: 0958: "Hotels"

Postby Vash » Fri Sep 30, 2011 5:52 pm UTC

A_of_s_t wrote:How does BHG's script get past all the captchas?


Don't captchas mostly only make it hard for people? I was under that impression at least.

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Re: 0958: "Hotels"

Postby philipquarles » Fri Sep 30, 2011 6:20 pm UTC

When you think about it, isn't the tragedy of the commons always the tragedy of somebody being a dick? Maybe it's not one person, maybe it's everybody who exploits the resource beyond a certain point, but it's always being a dick.

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Re: 0958: "Hotels"

Postby plnyyanks » Fri Sep 30, 2011 6:38 pm UTC

It's up to #4...
tragedy.png

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Re: 0958: "Hotels"

Postby chris857 » Fri Sep 30, 2011 6:57 pm UTC

plnyyanks wrote:It's up to #4...
tragedy.png


I suspect we'll see a spike of traffic on Wikipedia too once the day rolls around.

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Re: 0958: "Hotels"

Postby Aelfyre » Fri Sep 30, 2011 7:08 pm UTC

jestingrabbit wrote:
J L wrote:
jestingrabbit wrote:
Kurz wrote:Could somebody explain, what the last sentence ("If you're quick with a knife...") could possibly mean?
I don't get it...
(Sry, I'm a non-native english speaker and I'm currently trying to improve my English)


There's sort of missing middle part of the sentence, "If you're quick with a knife you can kill and eat the invisible hand and you'll find the invisible hand is made of delicious meat" or something like that anyway. There's an implication that the black hat man is eating the invisible hand, anyway.


My question exactly. You mean like, the invisible hand of the market, as in economics?


Yes, that's right. The black hat guy is, metaphorically, killing and eating the invisible hand, by trying to make the hotel goers act against their better interests.

Similarly, I am metaphorically killing the joke, by trying to explain it to others.


that's fine as long as you metaphorically eat it afterwards.
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Re: 0958: "Hotels"

Postby Stealth Tomato » Fri Sep 30, 2011 7:13 pm UTC

But... if everyone did this, the hotel rating system would have perfect accuracy; the lowest-rated hotels would be the best, and people could adjust accordingly.

But then a metagame arises, so people give GOOD reviews to good hotels, throwing off the people looking for bad reviews, so they have an upper hand...
until this strategy catches on in the mainstream, at which point good reviews indicate a good hotel, so savvy users stay at the highest-rated hotels and give good hotels bad ratings...

INFINITELY LOOPING METAGAME

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Re: 0958: "Hotels"

Postby rhomboidal » Fri Sep 30, 2011 7:39 pm UTC

I once stayed at a $25-a-night Norman Batesian motel where I was the only guest there. It was simultaneously the coolest and creepiest night of my life.

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Re: 0958: "Hotels"

Postby TheGrammarBolshevik » Fri Sep 30, 2011 7:48 pm UTC

Kirby wrote:Is it bad that the third panel made me think of Kant's categorical imperative?

Why would that be bad? Non-BHG's argument in that panel is only a stone's throw away from the Formula of Universal Law.
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Re: 0958: "Hotels"

Postby cream wobbly » Fri Sep 30, 2011 8:17 pm UTC

"That's not even the tragedy of the commons anymore."

I have to agree, and not just because it is not "the commons". (It may be somewhat like a common, but only in the respect that it's accessible to all.) There's the small matter of how the system would be brought down: it would require a concerted effort to ensure it collapsed, and any let up in this effort would simply cause it to recover. "The tragedy of the commons" speaks of an inherent inability to service an overwhelming or ubiquitous demand.

BHG is seriously underperforming here.

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Re: 0958: "Hotels"

Postby Kirby » Fri Sep 30, 2011 8:29 pm UTC

TheGrammarBolshevik wrote:
Kirby wrote:Is it bad that the third panel made me think of Kant's categorical imperative?

Why would that be bad? Non-BHG's argument in that panel is only a stone's throw away from the Formula of Universal Law.


Oh. It's just that I had a quiz on Kant earlier this week. Now he's everywhere.

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Re: 0958: "Hotels"

Postby Linux0s » Fri Sep 30, 2011 10:36 pm UTC

cream wobbly wrote:BHG is seriously underperforming here.

I agree.

And the readership "Out-Randall'd" Randall by far with the bobcat gags. Now those were funny.
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Re: 0958: "Hotels"

Postby Seisachtheia » Sat Oct 01, 2011 2:58 am UTC

The appropriate rational choice problem here is neither tragedy of the commons nor prisoner's dilemma, but moral hazard.

The scarcity issue introduced doesn't have much of anything to do with tragedy of the commons.

Black hat's knowledge of the hotel's quality is now insulated from a deterioration in the quality of the hotel rating system, since he can depend on his personal experience rather than a rating agency.

If the quality of a rating aggregator depends on the quality of its inputs, there's a problem because once a rater personally experiences a hotel they no longer have an incentive to make a good rating.

That's moral hazard.

Just as health insurance is problematic because once you're insured, you care less about your health, hotel ratings are problematic because once you've been, you care less about the quality of the rating for the hotels you've already been to.

Prior to attending the hotel, they have an interest in all the ratings being good, so as to get reliable info.
Prior to buying insurance, you have an interest in all the existing customers being healthy, so as to get cheap insurance

In the aggregate, moral hazard makes insurance more expensive just as it could make rating systems more unreliable.

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Re: 0958: "Hotels"

Postby BlitzGirl » Sat Oct 01, 2011 3:07 am UTC

cream wobbly wrote:BHG is seriously underperforming here.


He's probably a little put-out by the forum response to "Chin-Up Bar".
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Re: 0958: "Hotels"

Postby Morlock » Sat Oct 01, 2011 3:33 am UTC

mcv wrote:
Apeiron wrote:Most ratings systems on sites are pretty lousy. It costs the user nothing to post or to give any particular rating. i could give a 1 or a 5 with equal effort.

True, but even if part of the ratings are random junk, as long as at least some percentage of visitors is honest and gives an honest review, the good hotels should still end up with a slightly better rating.

Unless of course people with various rating strategies are not distributed equally across all hotels.


the problem is that when people are mad about something they post a review. if they are happy they don't. the hotel that i work at gets a lot of bad reviews (mostly about things we can't control like when the building was built) but only a few good reviews. this is in contrast to the amount of people who come up to the desk to say how great a time they had with us.

basically the review sites work on a very skewed system that honestly shouldn't be trusted.

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Re: 0958: "Hotels"

Postby Morlock » Sat Oct 01, 2011 3:39 am UTC

I work in a hotel, and this made me an my co-workers laugh all day.

does anyone know of a webcomic thats based in a hotel? like shortpacked is for a toy store or the rack is for a comic store. i just realized i've never seen one...

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Re: 0958: "Hotels"

Postby Uzh » Sat Oct 01, 2011 6:38 am UTC

It reminds me of a short story by Ephraim Kishon about the Escimo-principle (I think it was called that way, I read sthe story some millennia ago).

The hero told everyone how bad he found the newly opened romanian restaurant. When he was confronted, that the food there was fine and the staff was really nice he replied that he thought so also. But he compared that to the Inuit who had a ice-hole with lots of fish complaining to everyone that you could hardly get any fish from - just to keep the others away. So he would keep the masses of people out of his favourite restaurant to always get a free table there.

The punch-line was that everyone wondered why this wonderful new restaurant closed up. The reputation was simply too bad and no-one could explain why.

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Re: 0958: "Hotels"

Postby Pfhorrest » Sat Oct 01, 2011 7:30 am UTC

chernobyl wrote:
scarletmanuka wrote:
chernobyl wrote:It's quite interesting how modern economics theory relies, mostly, on the assumption that everyone's a dick.

I think it's because the assumption has been pretty well validated historically.

Genuine concern for one's neighbor may be a pretty rare thing, but any theory that doesn't account for its existence is flawed because it distorts reality.


Contemporary economics tries to purport itself as a science akin to the natural sciences, reporting theories about how people do behave, but there is a longstanding historical bent, which is still present and which I think should be the primary focus of it instead of this misplaced scientism, for economics to be more about strategies for how people should behave. This can still be done in a mathematically rigorous way, grounded in game theory; it just means we stop purporting to be describing what people do do, and instead we are prescribing what to do in a given situation, given the assumed goal of maximizing utility. (This is then easily extensible from "maximizing personal utility" to "maximizing total utility", making economics suitable to serve as applied ethics).

The upshot of that rambling paragraph is that it is perhaps better to understand the economic assumption of rational self-interest not as saying "nobody ever acts altruistically" (a descriptive, indicative sentence), but rather as saying "never rely on people to act altruistically" (a prescriptive, imperative sentence). Maybe people act altruistically all the time, but a wise strategy in business or in life in general will not rely on the goodwill of others, any more than a good password should rely on secrecy alone or a chess strategy should rely on your opponent making a mistake. You have to draw your opponent into making an opening, pick a high-entropy password, and offer people incentives to do what you want. Maybe your opponent will just leave you an opening, maybe nobody would ever guess your password, and maybe people will just do what you want for free; if so, then that's great! But it would not be a wise strategy to rely on any of those.

Addendum, on the subject of the running joke:
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Re: 0958: "Hotels"

Postby hawkinsssable » Sat Oct 01, 2011 9:24 am UTC

And what if offering an incentive 'crowds out' altruism? There was a study of an Israeli childcare centre that introduced fines for parents that were late to pick up their kids that found that, after the fine was introduced ('never rely on people to act altruistically'), parents were typically later than before. Presumably guilt was a better disincentive than a small fine, and introducing the small fine got rid of the guilt. Or look at Iran's commercial kidney procurement system. Once it became possible to buy a kidney, unpaid altruistic donation dropped to less than 5% of total transplants, despite the fact that there still aren't enough kidneys to go around and the waiting list remains long. Presumably when kidney became 'commodities' instead of gifts, people became less willing to give them away.

If you "never rely on people to act altruistically", in certain contexts this might actually STOP people from acting altruistically, which might be counter-productive if you're trying to maximise total utility. Sure, you could always offer MORE money to create a bigger incentive, but if you have to pay a lot just to reach the altruistic baseline, that's definitely not optimal from a utilitarian point of view.

chernobyl wrote:It's quite interesting how modern economics theory relies, mostly, on the assumption that everyone's a dick. SMBC did a comic on that yesterday, now xkcd.


Anybody else think that comic would have been even better if they had cut out the last panel?
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Re: 0958: "Hotels"

Postby Vash » Sat Oct 01, 2011 10:19 am UTC

hawkinsssable wrote:Presumably guilt was a better disincentive than a small fine, and introducing the small fine got rid of the guilt.


Is that the example from Freakonomics? I don't remember. Anyway, let's not jump to conclusions so quickly. The fine may not have gotten rid of the guilt. They may have also lost favor for the day care. There could be other explanations.

Or look at Iran's commercial kidney procurement system. Once it became possible to buy a kidney, unpaid altruistic donation dropped to less than 5% of total transplants, despite the fact that there still aren't enough kidneys to go around and the waiting list remains long. Presumably when kidney became 'commodities' instead of gifts, people became less willing to give them away.


Did the actual number of donated kidneys go up (adjusted for population and other factors)? Did the proportion of altruistically donated kidneys go down? I guess it's far-fetched to say not. It does mean that people became less willing to give them away, but that's kind of a weird wording. There's been no actual research on motivations.

If you "never rely on people to act altruistically", in certain contexts this might actually STOP people from acting altruistically, which might be counter-productive if you're trying to maximise total utility. Sure, you could always offer MORE money to create a bigger incentive, but if you have to pay a lot just to reach the altruistic baseline, that's definitely not optimal from a utilitarian point of view.


I think the question that is more often brought up is whether or not creating a contingency based on altruism actually increases altruistic acts or decreases them. I think when contingencies are very clearly in favor of a certain altruistic behavior, it certainly increases them. In the case of the United States, I am not sure that there is any reason for the average wealthy person to donate money if they already get tax breaks for no reason.

chernobyl wrote:It's quite interesting how modern economics theory relies, mostly, on the assumption that everyone's a dick. SMBC did a comic on that yesterday, now xkcd.


Anybody else think that comic would have been even better if they had cut out the last panel?[/quote]

Yeah, it does, and I think that is a bad assumption.

No, I think it's all hilarious. I love SMBC, because it knows the limitations of all of these fields, and makes fun of them all.

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Re: 0958: "Hotels"

Postby hawkinsssable » Sat Oct 01, 2011 11:40 am UTC

Is that the example from Freakonomics? I don't remember. Anyway, let's not jump to conclusions so quickly. The fine may not have gotten rid of the guilt. They may have also lost favor for the day care. There could be other explanations.


I honestly can't remember where I first read it- it's been ages since I read freakonomics. A draft of the study can be found [url=citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.37.1417&rep=rep1&type=pdf]here[/url], though (thank you, google scholar). Here's a chunk where they put it much better than I did:

Spoiler:
Rather we argue that penalties, (just as rewards), are usually introduced into an incomplete contract, social or private. These penalties may change the information or the perception that agents have of the outcome in the states where the contract is silent, and therefore the effect on behavior may opposite than expected. If this is true, the deterrence hypothesis loses great part of its predictive strength, since the clause ``everything else is left unchanged’’ might be hard to satisfy or verify.


They've done a bunch of other stuff on motivational theory and incentives, including a series of experiments in which 'altruistic' and 'paid' volunteers were asked to answer a series of IQ test questions 'for science'. The unpaid volunteers outperformed the paid ones, although within the 'paid' group, the better-paid ones performed better than the lowly-paid ones. (study is here) The idea is that it's better to pay nothing than to pay too little. Here's a chunk from their discussion:
Spoiler:

"If we compare the treatment in which monetary compensation was not even mentioned with the one in which it was, then we may conclude that the monetary compensation produces a reduction in performance. But in those treatments in which monetary compensation is offered, a higher monetary incentive produced a higher performance. This result indicates a discontinuity at the zero payment of the effect of monetary incentives: for all positive but small enough compensations, there is a reduction in performance as compared with the zero compensation, or, better, with the lack of any mention of compensation."


Another good example probably the comparison Richard Titmuss made between British and American blood donation systems in the 1960's. He found that while donation in England and Wales, where all donors are unpaid, increased sufficiently to meet the increased demand for blood products. On the other hand, in the US there was a growth in commercial blood banking and a concomitant fall in altruistic donation, with the rise in commercial supplies insufficient to cope with the fall in unpaid donation. I don't know if that's even true any more, and even if it is, it's only an incomplete explanation- Australia's blood supply is awful, and we rely on unpaid donors. But still.

Did the actual number of donated kidneys go up (adjusted for population and other factors)? Did the proportion of altruistically donated kidneys go down? I guess it's far-fetched to say not. It does mean that people became less willing to give them away, but that's kind of a weird wording. There's been no actual research on motivations.


Yeah, I phrased that stupidly. To clarify: according to Iranian transplant authorities, the actual number of altruistically donated kidneys have gone down, and there's plenty of anecdotal evidence to suggest that asking for a kidney from a relative has become seen as something 'stingy' to do. A small handful of single-centre studies in (mostly not peer-reviewed) journals suggest that the number has remained static, and just the proportion has gone down. A couple of bioethicists associated with the AEI/ CATO institute have said the same thing, but without referencing anything that backs up the numbers they give.

No, I think it's all hilarious. I love SMBC, because it knows the limitations of all of these fields, and makes fun of them all.


I just think "you'll want to use what are called 'fractions'" is the perfect punch line.
Last edited by hawkinsssable on Sat Oct 01, 2011 11:58 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.
Reason has always existed, but not always in a reasonable form.


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