All of beah's Comments + Replies

A Research Framework to Improve Real-World Giving Behavior

Might there be sweet spots to be found somewhere along the continuum of "quality" of giving (the effectiveness of each dollar given) stopping short of, say, GiveWell recommend charities or even EA approved causes?

Most ordinary people don't give because they generally feel charitable and want to do something, anything, so long as it's charitable. The are compelled to give by an event or a narrative that tugs on them. Most EA instruments don't really do this, of course. At least not in the initial consumer interaction. Say someone was compelled to ... (read more)

I'm not sure how much having a "watered down" version of EA ideas in the zeitgeist helps because, I don't have a clear sense of how effective most charities are. If the difference between the median charity and the most impactful charity is 4 orders of magnitude ($1 to the most impactful charities does as much good as $1000 to the the median charity), then even a 100x improvement from the median charity is not very impactful. It's still only 1% as good a donating to the best charity. If that were the case, it's probably more efficient to just aim to get more people to adopt the whole EA mindset. On the other hand, if the variation is much smaller, it might be the case that a 100x improvement get's you to about half of the impact per dollar of the best charities. Which world we're living in matters a lot for whether we should invest in this strategy. That said, promotion of EA principles, like cost effectiveness and EV estimates, separate from the EA brand, seem almost universally good, and extend far beyond people's choice of charities.
Absolutely! I think getting people to give to “best in class” charities has to be a part of any serious effort to improve giving on a large scale. Many donors are locked into a particular cause but would be open to giving more effectively in the same space. In causes with a lot of money and a big difference between the best charities and “default” charities, that presents a big opportunity. And of course there’s no guarantee EA is getting its cause prioritization right in the first place. One “softer” framework I like is encouraging donors to be intentional, informed, and impactful when they give. It’s hard for people to disagree with any of these things, and they should all promote better giving on the margins.
Are You Sure You Want To Donate To The Against Malaria Foundation?

[I hope it's not bad form to comment on a post from 2016 -- here it goes!]

Michael -- I'm a newcomer to EA. I find it very compelling but I've been troubled by the assumption that saving (or even generating) current (and future) lives is more valuable than improving existing lives. So I was excited to stumble upon your work. It has given me some intellectual basis for what was previously mostly intuition. What I have not been able to find is this: for someone who more or less shares your priorities / worldview, what should we be doing with our time and mon... (read more)

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