Max Ghenis

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

I first got into EA in 2012: I worked at Google at the time, and Google.org 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

Comments

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

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

Launching SoGive Grants

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.

How To Become A Professional Software Developer

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).

FTX Future Fund and Longtermism

Awesome post. I'd just add that you've reported a lower bound. Per https://ftxfuturefund.org/announcing-the-future-fund:

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.

E.A. Megaproject Ideas

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.

The Future Fund’s Project Ideas Competition

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.

The Future Fund’s Project Ideas Competition

Cool - you might also be interested in my submission, "Comprehensive, personalized, open source simulation engine for public policy reforms". It's not in the pitch but my intent is for it to be global as well.

The Future Fund’s Project Ideas Competition

Comprehensive, personalized, open source simulation engine for public policy reforms

Epistemic Institutions, Economic Growth, Values and Reflective Processes

Policy researchers apply quantitative modeling to estimate the impacts of immigration reform on GDP, child benefits on fertility, safety net reform on poverty, carbon pricing on emissions, and other policies. But these analyses are typically narrow, impersonal, inflexible, and closed-source, and the public can rarely access the models that produce them.

We'd like to see a general simulation engine—built with open source code and freely available to researchers and the public—to estimate the impact of a wide variety of public policy reforms on a wide variety of outcomes, using a wide variety of customizable parameters and assumptions. Such a simulation engine could power analyses like those above, while opening up policy analysis to more intricate reforms, presented as a technology product that estimates impacts on society and one's own household.

A common technology layer for public policy analysis would promote empiricism across institutions from government to think tanks to the media. Exposing households to society-wide and personalized effects of policy reforms can align the policymaking and democratic processes, ultimately producing more effective public policy.

Disclaimer: My nonprofit, PolicyEngine, is building toward this vision, starting with the tax and benefit system in the UK and the US. We plan to apply for the Future Fund's first round.

See also "Unified, quantified world model" and "Civic sector software".

The Future Fund’s Project Ideas Competition

Framing it as EA hubs that also happen to serve vegan food could come off as less cultish. The restaurant could also donate 10% of revenue to GiveWell. Edit: Or let the customer select a GiveWell charity to receive 10% of their bill.

Climate Recommendations in EA: Giving Green and Founders Pledge

That report doesn't include CCL.

Democrats do support a carbon tax:

Every other developed country has priced carbon. Only Australia has revoked it. Taking an outside view, this suggests pricing carbon in the US is tractable; the absence of it will also create clearer trade tensions as the EU starts enforcing its border adjustment.

What studies find that regulations without carbon pricing can reach our climate goals? The only one I've seen is Rhodium (2021), which requires an unrealistic coordination of many unprecedented climate policies at the congressional, executive, state, and corporate levels (pp. 16-18). This policy suite far exceeds BBB and regulations from Obama and Biden, which are already on shaky ground given the Supreme Court's questioning the EPA's authority to regulate GHGs. That report also includes a more optimistic baseline than others, and still only gets to 45-51%. Many other reports, including from Rhodium, show that carbon pricing makes these goals straightforward to meet.

Load More