Mission-correlated investing

Applied to Index Investing and EA 1y ago

Thanks for checking and sharing that update, Pablo! 

By the way, I expect to see 'mission hedging' continue to be the most 'commonly' used term in this area because this is arguably the right way to describe the AI portfolio Open Philanthropy has publicly mentioned considering. That is, if we label short AI timelines as a bad thing, then this is 'hedging'. Still, I do like to put it in the overall 'mission-correlated' bucket so we remember that the key bet with this portfolio is that short timelines lead to higher cost-effectiveness (i.e. we're betting timelines and cost-effectiveness are correlated).

One person working in this area privately expressed a preference for 'mission-correlated investing', so I now lean weakly towards using that as the name of the entry (and discuss both mission-correlated investing and mission hedging in the body of the entry). But let's wait a couple more days in case others also want to chime in.

Yes, original research is totally acceptable (even encouraged) on the Forum—just not on the Wiki. The purpose of the latter is to summarize existing research and, derivatively, to adopt the established terminology used in that research.

As Stefan notes, in principle a Wiki article can discuss not only the topic named by its title, but also related topics judged not to deserve their own entry. For example, the hinge of history article also briefly discusses the hinge of history hypothesis, and the quadratic voting article will discuss quadratic payments (though it doesn't currently, since it was only created last week and I haven't had time to update it). So the 'mission hedging' article could also discuss 'mission-correlated investing'. (Though I was aware that the former is a specific instance of the latter, I phrased my original comment in a way that didn't make this sufficiently clear.)

My only remaining concern is that it seems you are the only person using 'mission-correlated investing' for the superset. However, if the other EA researchers working on this topic are happy with this terminology, I think it's fine to use it in the Wiki article. I will point Hauke Hillebrandt and Michael Dickens (who seem to be the main other people who have discussed mission hedging on the Forum) to this thread in case they want to chime in.

Is a series of 'original research' EA Forum posts on mission-correlated investing acceptable?

Certainly - the function of forum posts are totally different from those of Wiki tags.

Then as the 'mission-correlated investing' Wiki tag summarizes these posts it is a summary of existing research.

In general, I'd say that the more posts there are using a particular concept, the stronger is the case for a tag on that concept - yes. It's a bit hard for me to tell what the exact cut-off point is though. Pablo would have a better sense of that, since he works on the Wiki.

So, obviously you and Pablo surely have a better sense of what is desired on the Forum/Wiki in general. I am just going based on intuition.

If this is important it would be helpful to know in more detail what place original research is supposed to have on Forum/Wiki. The same with  summaries of existing research. Is a series of 'original research' EA Forum posts on mission-correlated investing acceptable? Then as the 'mission-correlated investing' Wiki tag summarizes these posts it is a summary of existing research.

"I think you might have mistaken 'mission-correlated investing' as a replacement/equivalent for 'mission hedging'? Rather, the latter is a subset of the former."

I don't think he has, but that he understands that it's a subset. I think it's fine to have an article on a subset of X and then discuss X as part of that article (if one wants to focus more on the subset. for whatever reason).

In general, I share the intuition that the Wiki isn't the place for original research, but should summarise original research and usage. That means that I'd put a lot of weight on Pablo's point that "the expression "mission-correlated investing" is not established EA terminology".

That's an interesting point you make. I think you might have mistaken 'mission-correlated investing' as a replacement/equivalent for 'mission hedging'? Rather, the latter is a subset of the former.

For the record, some other relevant points:

i. The orders of magnitude of hits for 'mission hedging' needs to be taken with a pinch of salt. It doesn't look to me like it's thousands of people talking about mission hedging. Rather it's thousands of crossposts and similar listings, as well as false hits.

ii. When I created this tag (as 'mission hedging') there was no tag. 3 years or so after Hauke's original article. This isn't a strong indication of EA attachment to the term.

iii. It was then correctly pointed out to me by an astute forum member that 'mission hedging' is only a good term for a subset of strategies which match the underlying idea ('invest to have more money when it will be more valuable'). 'Mission-correlated investing' is a natural term to capture the whole idea (though suggestions for catchier terms would be welcome). Hence I updated the tag to 'mission-correlated investing'.

iv. My categorization of the 9 posts currently linked to the term would be 5 'mission-correlated investing', 3 strictly 'mission hedging', 1 ambiguous. So, if we were to add a 'mission hedging' tag as well, it would have 3-4 posts. 

v. My intuitions when creating this tag, and refining it to be 'mission-correlated investing', were that it's helpful to have a tag that collects all posts related to this 'niche' and that it's helpful to bring all people who are thinking about these ideas together. Whether they're not experts and have only heard about 'mission hedging' so far, or if they're really into it and considering all angles of 'mission-correlated investing'.

vi. I would say I'm in regular contact with the other main existing authors on 'mission hedging'/'mission-correlated investing'. I'd be really excited to know if there were secretly a ton of people who are actively mission hedging. It would be great for them to share what they are doing and with enough posts this would justify using the term.


As far as I can tell, the expression "mission-correlated investing" is not established EA terminology. A Google search for "mission-correlated investing" produces only eight hits. This is three orders of magnitude less than the hits produced by "mission hedging", which was the original name of this article. So I suggest sticking with that name, and revising the article's contents accordingly. We can always switch back to "mission-correlated investing" if and when the EA community decides to adopt it as the canonical designation for this idea.

Mission-correlated investing increases the expected amount of good done by someone who is 'investing to give'. This is because the contribution of an altruistic investor to the total good can be thought of as the amount of money they donate multiplied by the impact per dollar of the opportunities they fund[1].fund. All else equal, increasing the correlation between the amount of money and the impact per future dollar increases the investor's expected contribution.