Calculating and comparing impact
- One approach to comparing global problems in terms of expected impact
- An outline of a more precise and quantitative version of the importance, neglectedness, and tractability framework. Includes details on how to apply it to compare cause areas for yourself. (20 mins.)
- Disability-adjusted life year (Wikipedia)
- This page describes one common way to compare the burden of different health issues. Researchers don't rely entirely on these kinds of metrics, but they can be one useful tool for helping to estimate the cost-effectiveness of an intervention.
- Save a life or receive cash? Which do recipients want?
- Explores the preferences and values of individuals and communities in Ghana and Kenya to inform funding allocations. (10 mins.)
- Finding the best charity requires estimating the unknowable. Here’s how GiveWell does it.
- A podcast covering GiveWell's approach through an interview with one of its researchers. (1 hour 45 mins.)
- GiveWell's research
- These pages represent some of the most rigorous thinking you'll find on the impact of specific charities and interventions.
- We've shared this link so you can see how GiveWell operates. To that end, any of the research will help. But for especially detailed work, refined over years, we recommend the writeups on GiveDirectly and mosquito nets.
- Poor Economics (Book)
- A thorough exploration of RCT research in global development. It only covers work through 2010, but it's still a nice introduction if you enjoy well-written social science. (320 pages)
Criticism of cost-effectiveness analysis
- Charity Cost-Effectiveness in an Uncertain World
- Another way to deal with prioritization under uncertainty is to focus on actions that seem likely to have generally positive effects across many scenarios, rather than focusing on clear, quantifiable metrics. (30 mins.)
- Why Charities Usually Don't Differ Astronomically in Expected Cost-Effectiveness
- Argues that people in the effective altruism movement might overestimate the extent to which charities differ in their expected marginal cost-effectiveness. (40 mins.)
- List of ways in which cost-effectiveness estimates can be misleading
- A checklist of things to keep in mind when using cost-effectiveness estimates. (25 mins.)
- Why we can’t take expected value estimates literally (even when they’re unbiased) - Holden Karnofsky explains why he takes issue with using expected value estimates of impact. (35 mins.)
Criticism of the RCT-based approach
- Growth and the case against randomista development
- An argument that research on and advocacy for economic growth in low- and middle-income countries is more cost-effective than the things funded by proponents of randomized controlled trials development. (60 mins - if you’re short on time, read Sections 1-3)
- Q&A with Elie Hassenfeld
- Elie, the CEO and co-founder of GiveWell, discusses his organization’s latest research, his views on economic growth, and what he’s changed his mind on lately. (60 mins.)