The Copenhagen Consensus Center (CCC) is a US think-tank. It conducts research on cost-effective solutions to pressing global problems, and advises philanthropists and policymakers on the basis of this research.


CCC was founded in 2006 with funding from the Danish government. It grew out of a conference held two years earlier dedicated to answering the question: "Where should the world invest an additional $50 billion over the next four years to do the most good?" An expert panel of nine economists compiled a preliminary list of "major challenges facing humanity". The list was then narrowed down to include the ten problems judged to be the most pressing. For each problem, an essay was commissioned to an external economist with expertise in the relevant field. This essay described the scope of the problem, considered possible solutions to it, and provided an extensive overview of the existing cost-benefit analyses in the literature. Finally, the expert panel reviewed these essays and ranked the problems. Both the essays by the specialist economists and the justification of the rankings by the expert panel were subsequently published in a book (Lomborg 2004). Further Copenhagen Consensus conferences, following the same process and methodology, were held in 2008 and 2012 (Lomborg 2009; Lomborg 2013).

CCC and effective altruism

It is instructive to consider the ways in which CCC and effective altruism compare in their approach to cause evaluation. CCC's motto is: "In a world with limited budgets and attention spans, we need to find effective ways to do the most good for the most people." (Copenhagen Consensus 2020) In a similar vein, Lomborg describes the "core idea" behind CCC as follows: "with scarce resources to tackle the problems of the world, prioritization is necessary." (Lomborg 2004: 1) Back when GiveWell started investigating standout programs, it found CCC to be "the only case we have seen of an independent panel of experts attempting to identify the most promising philanthropic investments." (GiveWell 2020) One of the commissioned papers for the 2012 conference was co-written by Toby Ord (Jamison et al 2013). Some effective altruists have in the past collaborated with CCC (Kleňha 2018)....

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