Working on a Ph.D. in Public Policy at Oxford. Previously director of strategic research and partnerships at CHAI at Berkeley, project manager and policy researcher at The Future Society in France, and UN youth delegate in climate negotiations.

Topic Contributions


Ivy_Mazzola's Shortform

I'll be able to do phonebanking on Tuesday from 10am to 1pm PT on Tuesday - join then!

And I'm happy to help coordinate outside of this! 

Why Helping the Flynn Campaign is especially useful right now

Lots of useful insights. At this point, I'm more on the side of doing this, which is not fanning the flames.

" How should I respond to takes on EA that I disagree with?

Maybe not at all — it may not be worth fanning the flames. 

If you do respond, it helps to link to a source for the counter-point you want to make. That way, curious people who see your interaction can follow the source to learn more."

If EA is no longer funding constrained, why should *I* give?

Agree with this point.  Jeffrey Ladish wrote "US Citizens: Targeted political contributions are probably the best passive donation opportunities for mitigating existential risk". 

He says: 

Recently, I’ve surprised myself by coming to believe that donating to candidates who support policies which reduce existential risks is probably the best passive donation opportunity for US citizens. The main reason I’ve changed my mind is that I think highly aligned political candidates have a lot of leverage to affect policies that could impact the long-term future and are uniquely benefited from individual donations.

If you're not a US citizen, you can volunteer for a campaign (that's legal!). 

Why Helping the Flynn Campaign is especially useful right now

It's quite hard to know and I don't know what the Team Campaign thinks about it.

There is a good article on Vox about the evidence base for those things  "Gerber and Green’s rough estimate is that canvassing can garner campaigns a vote for about $33, while volunteer phone-banking can garner a vote for $36 — not too different, especially when you consider how imprecise these estimates necessarily are." Not exactly what you answered but can give you a sense of direction."

Why Helping the Flynn Campaign is especially useful right now

I also think that helping Carrick would be super good!

Regarding phone banking, I wouldn't be that interested in paying for volunteers. The most important factor in the effectiveness of the calls is that the caller is genuinely enthusiastic about the candidate  - basically, if the caller is really interested, the person on the other end of the line has three times more chances of being convinced than if the caller is not really enthusiastic about the candidate.  (I don't have the specific paper this was in.) So it's great if you get your friends to call, but they need to be "in"! 

Other ways to contribute: 

Why Helping the Flynn Campaign is especially useful right now

The campaign can only use the first $2,900 in the primary campaign, but they can use the rest in the general election if they win the primary. If they don't win the primary, the options are either returning the remaining money to you or passing it along to another campaign. 

Additional funding right now would be financing better and more personal ads that still work in these final days.

As you've already given $2,900, I may recommend:

  • Directly going to Oregon and knocking on doors!
  • Phone banking
  • Talk to your Oregon friends living in District 6 or who have connections to it
  • Saying why you care about voting for Carrick on social media
Why Helping the Flynn Campaign is especially useful right now

It's about every Monday - the next one being in three days.

However, I recommend that you sign up even outside of these slots because there are still opportunities to do phone calls! 

Why Helping the Flynn Campaign is especially useful right now

Kuhan is probably right. However, after speaking to someone on Team Carrick today, it seems like there is still room for funding for the campaign's ads, which are different from the PAC's ads and show more Carrick talking directly to people. So giving now still makes sense (for the next 48 hours) even though the effects are smaller than a few days ago. 

Why Helping the Flynn Campaign is especially useful right now

Thanks for the suggestion, I'm going to definitely consider that.  I'm a  bit worried about feeding the troll... Maybe something more focused on why I think he's really a good candidate, and more detailed?

Why Helping the Flynn Campaign is especially useful right now

It is still useful to donate until Sunday!

I just talked with someone in Carrick's campaign and they said that there are still two more days for ads to be useful. The PAC has its own ads but they don't show Carrick's speaking. The campaign has better, more personable ads that people like better but the campaign can't use the PAC's funding for those better ads.

And we have another Fermi estimate of the ROI on a donation to Carrick’s campaign! 

'There are 435 members of the House of Representatives. Let’s assume that the House as a whole holds 1/4 of the total influence over the federal government’s spending, as one half of the legislative branch. Naïvely, Carrick’s influence would therefore be 1/(4*435), or 1/(1,740). 

If Carrick is elected, over two years the government will have $3.2T in discretionary spending. If Carrick can influence his share (1/1,740) of that, he’ll influence about $1.8 billion. 


How much difference can your donation make? One regression I saw suggested that every 10x increase in a candidate’s funding predicted about 5 percentage points greater vote share. (To be fair, this was for Senate races, and just looking at correlations, but this is the best model I could find after some quick Googling.) 

So let’s say Carrick has about $1M raised so far. And since it’s a close race, let’s say if Carrick gains 5 percentage points of the vote, his probability of winning goes up 25 percentage points.

Multiplying that through, we get that for every dollar you donate to Carrick’s campaign, in expectation Carrick will influence $51 of federal spending:


Carrick’s “share” of federal discretionary budget if he wins * federal discretionary budget over 2 years * $1 as proportion of a log increase in funding * increased probability Carrick wins from a log increase in funding.

Let’s assume that Carrick is politically constrained and that only 10% of that “share” is directed towards projects that are competitive with a major longtermist funder’s last dollar. Even so, you would get that donating to Carrick has more than a 5x multiplier on your donations as compared to other opportunities.

But I actually think this is probably a big underestimate. For one thing, this does not account for the non-budgetary ways Carrick can create value, such as enhanced regulation, oversight, debate. Carrick winning would also make substantial investments in EAs’ political influence, such as in getting useful information for the next generation of candidates, socializing EA ideas, and making useful introductions.

But even the dollar calculation is probably low. Getting Carrick elected would significantly improve (maybe by 10 percentage points) the probability of a $30billion dollar pandemic preparedness bill being passed. This alone would surpass my Fermi estimate.

This is why I’ve maxed out to Carrick. I hope you will too.'


Thanks to my anonymous friend for this great estimate.

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