Collaboration and financing

Most projects require many inputs—people with varying skills, funding, ideas,  administration, and so on. For better or worse, counterfactual responsibility is rarely explicitly allocated between different contributors. This complicates buying certificates for those projects. Here is our policy:

  • You can sell anything you did.

  • You can sell your contribution to any project, even if that contribution wouldn’t have any value without the rest of the project.

    For example, you can sell (the provision of):  10% of the flour for a cake, the flour for a cake,  the ingredients for a cake, a cake for a party, all the food for a party, a party…

  • We’ll usually evaluate contributions to projects conservatively; if we can’t determine the relative importance of different contributions, we may not be willing to pay much for any of them.

    For example, we might be willing to pay $10 for a cake, but only $2 for providing the ingredients or $3 for providing the labor. In general, the prices of the pieces will add up to less than the price of the project, because we don’t know how to assign credit amongst the pieces.

  • If you were paid to do something, we probably won’t buy it.

  • A group can sell anything the group did, if they decide unanimously what to do with the proceeds (for example, they can decide how to split the proceeds, or they can decide to use them to fund another project).

  • A group can unanimously decide how to distribute the certificate for a project done by the group, and then any member of the group can sell up to half of their share of that certificate.

Human capital

Some projects have a large positive impact which is entangled with human capital acquisition. For example, a research project may be valuable not because it is directly useful, but because the investigator acquired useful skills or knowledge while implementing it.

In general, we will pay only for the social impact of such projects, even if the research is very promising or there are significant human capital gains.