All of Christiaan's Comments + Replies

Growth and the case against randomista development

Many thanks for this very insightful article. I fully support your stance on moving beyond only RCT's, and short term solutions to poverty. I also think it’s a very promising line of argumentation and would be happy to see more of these types of discussion in the EA community. I have written down a few comments/thoughts I had while reading this article. I recognize that already many comments have been made; if so feel free to redirect me or simply state it was answered already and I can look for it.

1: I’d like to push a bit on the neglec... (read more)

2HaukeHillebrandt2yThank you for your questions. I do write about neglectedness elsewher This is an excellent point - you highlight a very interesting dynamic. Basically, the reason why RD is called sometimes called neglected (i.e. "neglected tropical diseases", "global poverty is neglected") is not necessarily due a low amount of money going to the cause in absolute terms, but because the problem is so huge. For instance, transnational wealth transfers through cash transfers can absorb virtually infinite amounts of donor money at not very rapidly diminishing returns. When these funding gaps are very hard to fill even for mega donors (e.g. billionaires and sovereigns), then that's a good reason for them to be more neglected than say research and advocacy for economic growth. The entire economics profession at $6bn a year that we guesstimated above could be roughly bankrolled indefinitely by the wealth of the Gates foundation. However, given that there's still a lot of very suboptimal economic policy (e.g. see Venezuela or how poorly some countries do in absolute on the World Bank Doing Business indicators) and very little growth advocacy for and there are like still many unfunded opportunities. Btw - my intuition is that similar arguments can be made about other research (e.g. agricultural research) that would benefit emerging economies. I write more in the appendix under the heading "Growth is not as neglected as RD, its low-hanging fruit have been picked, and the marginal dollar is not as effective" Great question: General EA heuristics might be at play here: people are less likely to care for people far removed from them and thus less likely to give to International development think tanks that advocate for them. This domestic bias manifests in suboptimal allocation of research effort - fewer PhDs becoming development economists relative to its effectiveness (100x multiplier) vs. people who become advanced economy labor economists (e.g. studying the effect of minimum wage on e