Finance professional earning to give; Co-Treasurer of EA UK


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Most students who would agree with EA ideas haven't heard of EA yet (results of a large-scale survey)

In marketing, there’s the concept of the awareness-consideration-conversion funnel. I’ve argued for many years that EA has low brand awareness but relatively high conversion. It’s good to finally see data on it!

I think further meta work is important (I started funding community building before CEA did) and we should be focused on making sure everybody’s heard of EA rather than spending hours worrying about persuading certain individuals.

Paper summary: The case for strong longtermism (Hilary Greaves and William MacAskill)

10^24 population expectation seems like the key assumption here. It’s easy to get that wrong by several orders of magnitude. All other assumptions are irrelevant if you assume that.

How to set up a UK organisation (Limited Company version)

Great guide!

For company formations, you can also do them easily direct at Companies House.  The only downside is you can't hide your address.

I've also had a good experience with Revolut, which can do a multicurrency account and similar FX fees to Wise.

Don’t wait – there’s plenty more need and opportunity today

I've written a post about why stepping up expenditure during a difficult time is often the correct thing to do here.  I also talk about how I think the view of "let's wait and things will be easier in the future" is flawed.

EA for Jews - Proposal and Request for Comment

Great to have another person putting effort into making the world more altruistic and more effective!

I like the idea.

In terms of comment, I have two thoughts, both of which I think you have already thought about above. Firstly I think when creating a new organisation, you have to make sure you are creating something for which (1) there is a need and (2) there is not somebody already trying to meet that need already. At EA for Christians, we’ve found a need for two things: (a) thinking around how compatible EA is with Christianity (tl;dr it very much is), and (b) outreach to Christians who are not yet EAs. We make sure we don’t redo things the community already does.

Secondly, make sure the organisation is run by the right people. At first this normally means people who have volunteer time, but as it builds make sure you build the appropriate skills and experience. Typically the person who has an idea and the most suitable person to be CEO are not the same person, but most EA organisations are run by the founder.

Wishing you all the best with the venture!

How You Can Counterfactually Send Millions of Dollars to EA Charities

Thanks for writing this article. I think you are spot on that many non-profit and for-profit organisations do not manage cash effectively.

A few comments:

  • The 2.16% doesn’t seem to me like a lower bound on interest if it’s in a bank account. If you invest in bonds, even short-term, you are exposed to capital fluctuations, so while it’s probably a good idea, it’s not a like-for-like comparison
  • The 5.51% return is unlikely going forwards. The last 20 years has seen unprecedented use of QE and a lowering & flattening of yield curves. I would assume equities return 5% p.a. and investment grade bonds 1% p.a. in real terms. The lowering of interest rates means (1) asset prices go up (so historical returns look better) and (2) future return expectations go down (across all assets)
  • Is GiveWell’s year end 31st Dec? The cash balance may be artificially higher at that point due to large number of donations in December
Correlations Between Cause Prioritization and the Big Five Personality Traits

Really interesting article. Just one quick question: does high emotional stability mean low neuroticism?

Keynesian Altruism

That's a very interesting point I hadn't considered. Yes, if the expenditure is in emerging markets, your money likely goes even further during global recessions

Keynesian Altruism

Thanks for your comment.

I'm not advocating it because of the fiscal multiplier. That would be the cherry on the cake.

The first simple step is simply to say don't cut back expenditure because shrinking and regrowing an organisation is costly. Most charities (though EA ones are somewhat atypical) see their income reduced during bad times. And since most charities think in bland terms of x months of reserves, this means their expenditure fluctuates as well. This is an not efficient way to manage an organisation. In good times, build a buffer, so you can keep going during bad times. Just keeping expenditure flat would be a major step in the right direction.

Of course you can take it a step further. There is another cost argument, which is that it is cheaper to do stuff during bad times. When unemployment is high, you can get talented people more easily. So even if the benefits are the same, the benefit/cost is higher. The fact the benefits may be higher, not just that the fiscal multiplier may be higher, but that fulfillment of basic human needs may be worse, is a bonus, though it probably only applies to Global Health and Development causes. I wouldn't use a Keynesian altruism strategy simply for this.

Keynesian Altruism

I think what you are referring to is an Anti-Nightingale. If you always sell after a market crash, you will most likely (as in mode, not mean) have poor returns, but that doesn't change the expected value from investing. The odds of a roulette wheel never change, but you can change your strategy to give you a >50% chance of coming away with a profit. My strategy will give you a >50% chance of coming away with an underperformance of the market, but will not change the underlying odds.

Another trap some people (including professional investors) fall into is "buying the dip". It feels natural to expect that when the market is low, the future expectations must be higher and it must be a good time to invest. In a perfect market (not a given!) this is not the case. In fact due to government responses (lowering the interest rate), returns should actually be lower. In very practical terms, this time last year you might have expected a 6% return from investing in the S&P 500 for one year. Right now, that 6% might be 5.5% because interest rates are lower.

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