Max Ghenis

132Joined Dec 2016


I'm the co-founder and CEO of PolicyEngine, a tech nonprofit that computes the impacts of public policy ( I'm also the founder and president of the UBI Center, a think tank researching universal basic income policies (

I first got into EA in 2012: I worked at Google at the time, and made a grant to GiveDirectly. I've since taken the GWWC pledge and focused my giving on GiveDirectly and GiveWell. I was active in Google's EA group and also MIT's when I went there for grad school in 2020.

I'm also the founder of Ventura County YIMBY, and a volunteer California state coordinator for Citizens' Climate Lobby, a grassroots organization advocating for a national carbon fee-and-dividend policy.


Topic Contributions

Thirdly, the question of whether going veg*n strengthens your altruistic motivations is an empirical one which I feel pretty uncertain about. There may well be a moral licensing effect where veg*ns feel (disproportionately) like they’ve done their fair share of altruistic action; or maybe parts of you will become resentful about these constraints. This probably varies a lot for different people.

Related to this is this study finding:

Across six experiments, including one conducted with individuals involved in policymaking, we show that introducing a green energy default nudge diminishes support for a carbon tax.

Makes sense and glad to see more EA centralization around Slack.

I might just suggest clarifying in this post that HIE is a community of physical engineers, as the website states.

My Operations Research degree definitely primed me for EA. Agree with this post.

I'd also add that economic forecasting involves OR techniques, and I think there are opportunities to integrate economic forecasts more into prediction platforms. This is my area of research, and for example my colleagues and I have recently used optimization to identify universal basic income policies that minimize disruption against the status quo, in the UK and in the US.

Some may also want to consider how passing up pay will affect benefit eligibility. If you can lower your income to 200% of the poverty line, under current Covid-related policy, you can get the maximum SNAP benefit for your household size in many states, including Massachusetts. That in turn entitles you to other benefits like broadband and school meal subsidies.

All together, a family of four in MA can gain about $12,000 per year by getting their income just below 200% of the poverty line ($55k). That's based on my nonprofit's free open-source app, PolicyEngine US; here's a graph. The application process and purchase restrictions can be annoying, but many online grocers now take SNAP and it's tax free.

Thank you! How much of this would you amend for starting a CIO instead?

Could you share a Google Docs version of the application form? The FTX Future Fund linked this at the top, and I found it helpful for planning out the application with others.

Came here to suggest this. Open source demonstrates to hiring managers that you know how to collaborate, which is at least as important as the technical skills in many cases.

There are even good EA open source projects like microcovid and the template for the EA forum (my nonprofit that builds tech for public policy analysis is also fully open source and welcomes contributors on GitHub, happy to chat with anyone interested).

Awesome post. I'd just add that you've reported a lower bound. Per

We plan to distribute at least $100M this year, and potentially a lot more, depending on how many outstanding opportunities we find. In principle, we’d be able to deploy up to $1B this year.

Regarding the dating app, it could also spawn a new generation of mega-EA children. But seriously, at least increase the number of future EAs.

It could also increase total fertility, which the FTX Future Fund identifies as an important project due to its effect on economic growth.

Somewhat related, I submitted "Comprehensive, personalized, open source simulation engine for public policy reforms". Governments could also use the simulation engine to explore policy reforms and to improve operations, e.g. to establish individual households' eligibility for means-tested benefit programs.

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