Certificates of Impact

Certificates of impact (also known as impact certificates) are a kind of altruistic instrument at the center of a funding model proposed by Paul Christiano. Certificates of impacts attempt to harness the benefits of the price system in altruistic contexts, where prices are usually unavailable.

On this model, altruistic work receives some or all of its funding after completion rather than beforehand. Once an individual or organization completes work with a positive social impact, they can apply for a certificate of impact. They can then sell this certificate to another organization or individual. Following the sale, the new certificate holder can claim credit for the impact of the project, and the organization that carried out the project must acknowledge that they have sold its impact.

This scheme has been proposed and tested by some members of the effective altruism community. They argue that the scheme is better than funding incomplete projects, because it allows for payments by results rather than by effort, which better incentivizes those running the project to do a good job. They also argue that awarding certificates of impact might be simpler and clearer than pre-funding projects....

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