Friday, February 29, 2008

$100 for the Vanastra Curling Club?

As many of you know, my former student Mike Moffat has made a binding contract with 12 economics bloggers. If he is not successful in meeting certain goals (involving fitness and weight loss) over the next few months, he will pay each of us, or the charity of our choice, $100.

This contract has created some interesting incentives. Greg Mankiw has specified that his $100 go to a group dedicated to furthering economic education. This is a nice idea, but it is probably not one that's good for Mike. After all, he can just say, "Oh well, it's going for a good cause."

My goal when Mike offered to include me in his contract was to come up with an option that I would really like and that he would really hate. That way he would have a very strong incentive to keep his commitment, but if he didn't I'd feel bad for him, but at the same time I (or the charity of my choice) would feel pretty happy. I want Mike to reach his goal. But if he doesn't, I want some deserving group to receive his money.

My first thought to was list the UWO Dept of Sociology, anticipating that listing that group as a recipient of Mike's money would provide a seriously huge incentive for him to lose weight and get in shape. But then I thought, "Wait a minute.... What if has to pay them? How happy would that make ME?"

So then I decided to list the local curling club. Mike has no connection with the club, so far as I know, and the club is struggling financially. They can use the money.

But I suspect others, such as the demons at Marginal Revolution, have come up with even better ideas. Mike will reveal the options on March 1st on his blog.


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