Karthik Tadepalli

Economics PhD @ UC Berkeley
Pursuing a doctoral degree (e.g. PhD)
1991Joined Apr 2021karthiktadepalli.com


I have two main research agendas: environmental quality in developing countries, and market integration as a tool to alleviate poverty and increase growth in developing countries. I also think about innovation and growth more broadly. I'm always interested in chatting with other people working in global health and wellbeing research!


Nope, I skimmed the post and missed that that was the specific goal. My bad!

Seeing Theory is also a beautiful guide to visualizing probability.

CATF's director did a podcast interview where he went into much more detail on what CATF does. My impression is that CATF has a decades-long history of US policy advocacy, and everything else they do is part of a recent expansion, including the energy access work.

  1. The revenue generated by a solar panel is very attributable to solar panels because of electric metering. This estimate in contrast is at the village level, includes lots of things that wouldn't be attributable to the cow (e.g. income multipliers from people spending in village shops).
  2. It's village level income. Who individually would pay you?
  3. Contracting frictions make it virtually impossible to enforce payment after the fact. If people refuse to pay you the revenue fraction, or claim that they got much less revenue from it then they actually did, then you are shit out of luck.
  4. It's a well established fact that development interventions have a massively reduced take-up when the price goes from zero to even a small amount. This was a big debate with malaria nets, and the evidence showed that people would dramatically reduce takeup of nets if they had to pay even a negligible amount for them.

Effective altruism in the garden of ends doesn't look too related but it's the real progenitor of this post, because it catalyzed my thinking about doing good in a more expansive way than we normally think of, so I wanted to shout it out too :)

Totally agree. Some EA-skeptical friends asked me if I was EA or EA-adjacent and I said "if everyone with my views described themselves as EA-adjacent (which some of them definitely do) then EA would be much worse for it".

That said, the leaver's story is not about making EA better, but about making the world better. And it's good to open your mind to the idea that these don't coincide. We would love for them to coincide, but that's exactly why we should be receptive to thinking that they don't.

How would you make a profit from this? If you charged villagers for the grant, it would just be a loan, and takeup would be dramatically smaller, so you wouldn't get effects like this.

Clean Air Task Force is probably the most well regarded organization doing this kind of work.

Maybe moral blackmail is too harsh of a term. But I think that it is important to feel like you can leave without violating your moral commitments. That doesn't in any way mean that Bob is wrong or trying to commit moral blackmail.

I wanted Alice's response to capture a resistance to moral blackmail that I think is important to have. I personally could not make a tight philosophical defense in my head for why leaving EA is actually impact maximizing, but I am also more committed to resisting moral blackmail than I am to giving tight philosophical defenses of my beliefs. But I think your point makes total sense.

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