Kevin Kuruc

Assistant professor of economics at the University of Oklahoma. Interested in macro-welfare economics; animal agriculture; population ethics; etc.

Professional Website:

Topic Contributions


Seven ways to become unstoppably agentic

Thanks! I liked these a lot -- especially endorse #2 and #6. 

Why You Should Earn to Give in Tulsa, OK, USA

I'm glad you just coined 'FIREA'! I was running a similar strategy down the road in Norman, OK (though I've since gotten an EA job in Austin, TX). Though, I was only in Norman because I was working at the University of Oklahoma; the relocation grant is specific to Tulsa.  

I can second that the cost of living is an amazing perk. Aside from the low rent, energy and gas prices are low in OK, the lowest in the country according to this site. And compared to Northeast cities, the groceries are a bargain. I saved an impressive (to me!) fraction of my income the 2.5 years I was there. Would love to see a bunch of remote EAs take advantage of this and build a little Tulsa community. 

Potatoes: A Critical Review

Thanks for doing this! I liked the original paper but never did a deep dive on the robustness. 

Critique of OpenPhil's macroeconomic policy advocacy

Something I did not see mentioned here as a potential critique: Open Phil's work on macro policy seemed to be motivated by a (questionable?) assumption of differing values from those who promote tighter policy. Here is Holden Karnofsky with Ezra Klein [I think the last sentence got transcribed poorly, but the point is clear]:

And so, this is not about Holden going and learning all about macroeconomic policy and then going and explaining to the Federal Reserve that they’ve got it wrong. That’s not what happened. We funded groups that have their own expertise, that are part of the debate going on. There are experts on both sides. But we funded a particular set of values that says full employment is very important if you kind of value all people equally and you care a lot about how the working class is doing and what their bargaining power is.

And historically, the Federal Reserve has often had a bit of an obsession with controlling inflation that may be very related to their professional incentives. And so we do have a point of view on when there’s a debate among experts, which ones are taking the position they’re taking, because that’s what you would do if you were valuing everyone and trying to help everyone the most, versus which you’re taking position for some other reason.

This struck me as a bit odd, because I think if you asked individuals more hawk-ish than Open Phil if they cared impartially about all Americans, they would answer yes. I suspect Open Phil may have overestimated the degree to which genuine technocratic disagreement was in fact a difference of values. 

Maybe OP  is/was right, but it would take significant technical expertise to identify which side of the debate is substantively correct, so as to conclude one side must not be motivated by impartial welfare. 

My experience of returning to work after having a baby

This is a really useful set of perspectives for prospective parents. Thanks!

The Case for Rare Chinese Tofus

I have nothing of substance to add, but I'm excited for people to attack the problem of replacing meat from a bunch of angles. I also very much agree with Aaron: if you are excited to work on meat-replacements, even if this exact idea doesn't hit, the skills/connections/experience that you'll acquire will be extremely valuable.  

Innovation Research Bootcamp for Econ PhD Students

Here are two broad examples off the top of my head, but I'm sure there are many more. If I think of anything worth adding, I'll do so. 

  1. Economic growth: See for example Chad Jones' body of work, who will be giving one of the lectures at the bootcamp (here's an excellent overview of some important papers). 
  2. Causes and consequences of AI development: see Phil Trammel's overview on the consequences of transformative AI in economic models. 
Make a $100 donation into $200 (or more)

Thanks! Just used this for a few donations. It looks like they've increased the pool to $620K and there is still ~15K left.

You are probably underestimating how good self-love can be

I'm glad you posted this here! This is super useful stuff to think about. Thanks :) 

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