How much does a vote matter?

Over at 80,000 Hours I’ve tried to write the most comprehensive analysis so far of whether it’s worth voting from an effective altruist perspective.

The bottom line is usually yes, if you’re in a competitive election.

But it may nevertheless be better to opt out of following politics entirely, if you’re not into it and have other good opportunities to have a social impact.

The full piece looks at a lot of different issues, and addresses criticisms people made of our previous article on the topic:

  • How can you roughly estimate the chances of your vote being decisive, in elections all around the world?

  • How much does it cost to get someone else to vote the way you’d like?

  • How much does it matter who wins elections anyway?

  • What can we say about the risk of accidentally voting for the wrong candidate?

  • How hard is it to vote more intelligently than other voters?

  • But won’t the courts decide close elections regardless of what you do?

  • How about proportional election systems?

  • Is it too much work to figure out which candidate is better?

It builds upon previous work on this topic such as Politics as charity and Vote for charity’s sake.

Let me know your thoughts below!