The importance, tractability and neglectedness framework, or ITN framework for short, is a framework for estimating the value of allocating marginal resources to solving a problem based on its importance, tractability, and neglectedness.


The neglectedness, tractability, and importance (NTI) framework was first developed by Holden Karnofsky around 2013 as part of his work for GiveWell Labs (which later became Open Philanthropy).[1]

80,000 Hours later presented its own, quantitative version of the framework.[2] This version was developed by Owen Cotton-Barratt in late 2014.[3]

Other differences between Karnofsky's model and Cotton-Barratt's are the terminology ("importance, tractability and uncrowdedness" is replaced by "scale, solvability and neglectedness") and the use of problems rather than causes as the main unit of analysis.

Further reading

80,000 Hours (2016) Our current list of especially pressing world problems, 80,000 Hours, June.
A set of applications of the ITN framework.

Dickens, Michael (2016) Evaluation frameworks (or: when importance / neglectedness / tractability doesn't apply), Philosophical Multicore, June 10.
A criticism of the ITN framework.

Wiblin, Robert (2016) One approach to comparing global problems in terms of expected impact, 80,000 Hours, April (updated October 2019).
80,000 Hours' presentation of the ITN framework.

career choice | cause prioritization | criticism of effective altruism | distribution of cost-effectiveness | impact assessment

  1. ^

    Karnofsky's thinking evolved gradually. See Karnofsky, Holden (2013) Flow-through effects, The GiveWell Blog, May 15; Karnofsky, Holden (2013) Refining the goals of GiveWell Labs, The GiveWell Blog, May 30; Muehlhauser, Luke (2013) Holden Karnofsky on transparent research analyses, Machine Intelligence Research Institute, August 25; Karnofsky, Holden (2014) Narrowing down U.S. Policy Areas, Open Philanthropy, May 22.

  2. ^

    Wiblin, Robert (2016) One approach to comparing global problems in terms of expected impact, 80,000 Hours, April (updated October 2019).

  3. ^

    Cotton-Barratt, Owen (2014) Estimating cost-effectiveness for problems of unknown difficulty, Future of Humanity Institute, December 4.