Slate: ...the closer you look at charitable giving, the less charitable it appears to be. A recent experiment
by John List, an economist at the University of Chicago, and a team of
colleagues, showed that donations are less than magnanimous after all.
Using controlled trials to compare different methods of door-to-door
fund-raising, professor List's team discovered that it was much more
effective to raise funds by selling lottery tickets than it was to
raise funds by asking for money. This hardly suggests a world populated
by altruists seeking to do the maximum good with their charitable cash. More
effective still was simply to make sure that the fund-raisers were
attractive white girls rather than a dowdier assortment of males and
females representing all shapes, races, and sizes. This dramatically
increased the average contribution, because many more men decided to
give money. Altruism?