Andrew Gimber

69 karmaJoined Sep 2021Working (6-15 years)


Views are my own.


Thanks for this!

If trying to avoid diminishing marginal returns within a cause area was the only reason for donation splitting, then I think pooling donations in a managed fund could be a more effective way of coordinating. Fund managers can specialize in researching where the highest-marginal-value funding gaps are.

But there’s also a funging argument that, given the existence of large funds that are trying to do this, it matters less exactly which high-impact charities smaller donors choose. For example, if smaller donations were suboptimally allocated across GiveWell’s top charities, the GiveWell Top Charities Fund would attempt to balance things out.

I’m also confused about this.

As I understand things there are now two different global health funds under the Effective Ventures umbrella, both of which currently amount to deferring to GiveWell (which, to be clear, I think makes a lot of sense!) with extra steps.

First there’s the EA Funds Global Health and Development Fund, which really seems to be equivalent to the GiveWell All Grants fund but with EA Funds branding. The fund managers are listed as Elie Hassenfeld (co-founder and CEO of GiveWell) and GiveWell Staff, and the GiveWell UK FAQ says:

GiveWell acts as the manager of the Fund and directs EA Funds on where to grant it. Giving to the GH&D Fund is analogous to giving to GiveWell's All Grants Fund in that we may allocate the Fund to less certain but still high-expected-value opportunities outside of our top charities. You might choose to give to the GH&D Fund instead of our All Grants Fund via GiveWell UK if you would also like to support other cause areas through EA Funds (such as its Animal Welfare Fund, Long-Term Future Fund, or EA Infrastructure Fund).

That last sentence is the only publicly stated justification I’ve found for why the EA Funds GH&D Fund exists. It doesn’t seem very compelling to me. I guess it would have been awkward to create EA Funds for the other cause areas but not for global health?

And now there’s the GWWC Global Health and Wellbeing Fund, whose webpage says:

[Grants from the fund] may include allocations to:

  • Charities or projects recommended by an evaluator/grantmaker the research team has evaluated (such as a grant to Against Malaria Foundation, which is recommended by GiveWell).
  • A fund run by an evaluator the research team has evaluated (such as a grant to whichever GiveWell funds can best use it).
  • Charities or projects the research team has reason to believe are highly impactful, including cases where this reasoning isn’t the result of deferring to a vetted evaluator (though we expect this to be rare, as the research team generally evaluates evaluators rather than individual charities or projects).

For this first round, we expect to allocate donations to this fund in consultation with GiveWell, based on our recent evaluation of its work. In practice, this will likely closely resemble the grantmaking of GiveWell’s All Grants Fund… Our research team may identify new funding opportunities (outside of those recommended by GiveWell) in future grantmaking rounds.

Here there’s potential at least for future divergence from GiveWell’s recommendations. But it seems this will really only come into its own if GWWC finds another global health evaluator it endorses, or develops substantial global health expertise of its own.

More broadly, now that GWWC has launched its own funds, how does Effective Ventures expect the relationship between GWWC and other grantmakers under the EV fiscal sponsorship umbrella to evolve? What would the internal governance and external communications look like if, hypothetically, the GWWC research team concluded that one of the other EV-sponsored grantmakers was allocating funds poorly?

This sounds very worthwhile – I’m glad you’re working on this!

We will initially establish a proof of concept in one region, working closely with the government TB program.

It wasn’t clear to me from the post whether you’re planning to do an impact evaluation of an existing government TB programme, or to trial a new kind of screening and preventive treatment programme in partnership with a government (which wouldn’t otherwise do it without you).

We will then aim to scale nationally, with funding from the Global Fund, and expand to other countries.

Have I understood correctly that the Global Fund wouldn’t be willing to fund the proof-of-concept and pilot programmes itself?

Good luck, both! Are there any other economist EAs on the job market this year?

Does the £280k shortfall already account for any expected funding from the ACE Recommended Charities Fund or Open Philanthropy?

What is the likely counterfactual for the matching funds? Is this part of a wider matching campaign by Founders Pledge donors? How does it stack up against the usual concerns about matching campaigns? (See for example here.)

Aside from starting from a low baseline and adopting good mental health habits, I'd be interested to know how much of the 5–10x happiness multiplier Will would attribute to his professional success and the growth of the EA movement. Is that stuff all counteracted by the hedonic treadmill?

Thanks very much for the update!

Do GiveWell's published cost-effectiveness estimates already include an adjustment for the optimizer's curse? Or is the idea that donors should treat estimates like 35x cash as "raw" expected value calculations, to which they apply their own informal Bayesian adjustment along the lines of Holden's post?

Similar thoughts crossed my mind (including the thanks!).

For a donor whose values are closely aligned with GiveWell's and who trusts them to spend wisely on operations, it seems like an unrestricted donation might actually have the highest expected impact.

But it also seems like there's potentially a funging "cascade" across the different options such that marginal donations would be equivalent under certain circumstances, depending on details like the Excess Assets Policy.

I'd be very interested in an in-depth comparison of the different options for giving through GiveWell in terms of expected impact, funging, optimizer's curse, value alignment etc.

In Joe’s thought experiment, the “party” is (happy) life itself, and creating a new happy life is “inviting” an extra person to that party.

I agree with you that people who don’t exist are unable to care about things. There isn’t a concrete list of hypothetical people who we can say are “missing out” on a happy life by not existing. And we can’t ask the non-existent version of Michael whether he would like to exist.

But I don’t think it follows that there is no benefit to creating additional happy lives. I think the extra happiness is still valuable even if we can’t point to a coherent counterfactual where someone in particular would have “missed out” on the happiness. We can ask the version of Michael who does exist whether he’s glad to be alive, and by assumption his answer will be positive.

My intuition is that it does matter whether there are 10 or 1000 people enjoying a party because those extra 990 enjoyable experiences are separate from one another (and from the first 10) and each is valuable by itself. (For what it’s worth, my intuition would be much weaker if we specified that all 1000 experiences were completely identical.)

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