HOW HARD IS IT TO MAKE ETHICAL FINANCIAL DECISIONS? Roberto Rigobon PhD ’97, the Society of Sloan Fellows Professor of Management at MIT, offers an example. Say you want to support animal rights. Should you buy vegan clothes? They’re often made of plastic, which may end up in a landfill or the ocean. So, he asks: “How many seals do you want to kill to save one sheep?”
Rigobon’s work bluntly tackles exactly these kinds of thorny ethical questions. Societally, we measure importance poorly, he explains, making decisions as if the world were made of single issues. Rigobon describes himself as obsessed with measuring options more effectively and incentivizing different behaviors earlier. Such work is essential for addressing a time-sensitive crisis like global warming, he says, and it is at the heart of the Aggregate Confusion Project.