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PhilGoetz comments on SIAI - An Examination - Less Wrong

143 Post author: BrandonReinhart 02 May 2011 07:08AM

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Comment author: PhilGoetz 05 May 2011 04:44:39PM 1 point [-]

I'm confused by this in three ways. Unless I'm mistaken, in 2009

  • Eliezer was not married
  • Michael was married
  • Paying higher salaries to married than to single people is a questionable policy, and probably illegal
Comment author: LukeStebbing 05 May 2011 07:07:33PM 8 points [-]

SIAI seems to be paying the minimum amount that leaves each worker effective instead of scrambling to reduce expenses or find other sources of income. Presumably, SIAI has a maximum that it judges each worker to be worth, and Eliezer and Michael are both under their maximums. That leaves the question of where these salaries fall in that range.

I believe Michael and Eliezer are both being paid near their minimums because they know SIAI is financially constrained and very much want to see it succeed, and because their salaries seem consistent with at-cost living in the Bay Area.

I'm speculating on limited data, but the most likely explanation for the salary disparity is that Eliezer's minimum is higher, possibly because Michael's household has other sources of income. I don't think marriage factors into the question.