I joined the SHIPs (https://www.notion.so/SHIPs-Student-led-High-Impact-Projects-035514f7b8594205b16e3e3a9cf6e736) program and came up with a few project ideas that I think are worth pursuing, but I don’t have the background to do them effectively. The following are some of my ideas that I encourage others to consider working on:
Advocating (via sending emails and/or calling) to people of influence to set the altruistic option as the default (to take advantage of the default effect since people are less likely to opt in/out of something if it requires effort). Examples of this could include have all citizens be organ donors by default, have vegetarian/vegan meals the default option provided, installing energy efficient equipment as the default in buildings, etc.
Influence Celebrities to Donate Effectively:
The goal of this project is to convince celebrities and other wealthy and/or highly influential people to donate to effective charities. Since they have a vast amount of wealth, the scale of possible donations is quite large. In addition, their influence my inspire their followers to also give more effectively, thereby magnifying the impact of this project. There currently exists High Impact Athletes (https://highimpactathletes.org/athletes), but there is definitely more room to grow this concept to other celebrities such as movie/TV stars, musical artists, business moguls, politicians, etc.
Impact of Switching Protein Subsidies:
Research the pros and cons of the US government switching its subsidies from conventional meat agriculture to alternative protein agriculture. Create a detailed report highlighting these benefits (and drawbacks). Ideally, this report could be given to a politician as the basis for a policy/bill to switch subsidies from conventional meat agriculture to alternative protein agriculture.
Other projects ideas from the SHIPs program can be found below:
Default Advocacy: Advocating (via sending emails and/or calling) to people of influence to set the altruistic option as the default (to take advantage of the default effect since people are less likely to opt in/out of something if it requires effort).
These seem like policies that, while they have “defaults” in common, would be handled by entirely different parts of a country’s government (and different state governments, etc.). Any one of these projects could be a reasonable thing for a group of people to try, but I don’t think there are many logistical similarities to match the conceptual similarities.
The Behavioural Insights Team might be among the best people to talk to to understand what “default”-esque policies are currently being worked on. They’ve implemented many similar policies in the UK (though I’m not sure how much Obama’s American version of this got done while he was in office).