1812 karmaJoined Working (0-5 years)Washington, DC, USA


I work as an engineer, donate 10% of my income, and occasionally enjoy doing independent research. I'm most interested in farmed animal welfare and the nitty-gritty details of global health and development work. In 2022, I was a co-winner of the GiveWell Change Our Mind Contest. 


Thanks so much for your response, that all makes sense!

You're understanding question 3 correctly - GiveWell's moral weights look like the following, which is fairly different from valuing every year of life equally. 


Thanks so much for going on the podcast and for the incredible work that you and everyone involved in r.i.c.e. are doing! It's amazing that you've been able to save so many lives so cost-effectively. I did have a few questions I was curious about though:

  1. In discussing your room for more funding, you mentioned likely cost-effectiveness improvements from economies of scale as the program grows. That makes complete sense to me on the current margin, but I'm curious if you have thoughts about how the cost-effectiveness might change if the program were to scale up say an order of magnitude. It seems like both r.i.c.e.'s staff and the medical college staff are exceptionally engaged and motivated. Do you sense of how important that's been to the program's success, and of whether that would be hard to maintain and replicate if the program expanded substantially more broadly? I know that for example in early childhood education interventions, there's quite a bit of evidence of negative scale-up effects where programs that look really great in pilots have ended up looking a lot less good when implemented at large scale. (This isn't at all intended to be a negative on r.i.c.e.'s current or near-term work, I'm just curious how optimistic or non-optimistic to be about the larger potential of kangaroo mother care programs)
  2. In talking about why this program wasn't done before r.i.c.e.'s intervention and why it isn't done in more places, you said "There are just a few paediatricians who work there, and they had just a few nurses working with them. And that’s just not going to be enough for this many babies. The government of Uttar Pradesh recognises this; the Department of Medical Education is working hard to open more new medical colleges and new nursing colleges." Given that context, do you worry that part of what r.i.c.e is doing in the short-run is reallocating medical care from being provided to other people to being provided to the babies in the program? I of course don't think this is an argument for r.i.c.e. being ineffective - I think there are strong reasons to think that the care you're providing is doing more good than the counterfactual use of the nurses' time, and that in the long-run the supply of nurses is relatively elastic. But I'm curious if this might be a reason to think the program is less cost-effective than it initially appears.
  3. GiveWell's moral weights take a time-relative interest account-like approach to the value of a human life, in which saving the life of a newborn infant is weighted as moderately less valuable than saving the life of an older child. This leads to GiveWell estimating r.i.c.e.'s cost-effectiveness as about 30% lower than it would have been if they had weighted preventing infant deaths as equally valuable as preventing the deaths of older children. Do you personally have any thoughts about the right approach to making these kinds of difficult tradeoffs when evaluating different charities? And how important a consideration do you think this moral weight question is for donors who are considering donating to r.i.c.e. vs. GiveWell's current top charities. 

Hm I don't obviously see the analogy with the common app - hiring employees and admitting students seem quite different.

Are there antitrust concerns with multiple orgs (even if nonprofit) using a common screener? 

FYI you described the "Electric Shrimp Stunning: a Potential High-Impact Donation Opportunity" post as "SWP's CEA of stunners," but I have no affiliation with SWP. 


I agree with this comment. It's worth nothing that the methodology used in this analysis isn't the same as the methodology used in the CURVE sequence. In the "How Can Risk Aversion Affect Your Cause Prioritization" report, @Laura Duffy weighted 1 year of disabling pain at 2 to 10 DALYs and 1 year of excruciating pain at 60 to 150 DALYs. I expect that dying is at least disablingly painful and potentially excruciatingly painful, so these weights would imply a >5x improvement in cost-effectiveness (but even at the upper end, this probably wouldn't be cost-competitive with top EA interventions). 

In general, I think it's a good step to try and actually put interventions from different cause areas on the same scale, but I continue to think that because DALYs are a unit of health status and not a unit of utility, trying to use them as a unit of comparison is unlikely to be optimal (see here and here for more)

This is great work on a really sad topic. Well done putting this together 

Has RP published anything laying out its current plans for funding and/or executing work on AI governance and existential risk? I was surprised to see that no RP team members are listed under existential security or AIGS anymore. Is RP's plan going forward that all work in these areas will be carried out by special projects initiatives rather than the core RP team? And how does that relate to funding? When RP receives unrestricted donor funds, are those sometimes regranted to incubated orgs within special projects? 

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