Niklas Lehmann

Economics Researcher
26 karmaJoined Mar 2020Pursuing a doctoral degree (e.g. PhD)



I am currently researching forecasting and causal inference. I am always excited to join forces to tackle important problems of any discipline or kind! Do not hesitate to reach out to me. 


Thanks Ren for this in-depth article. This is pure gold! Btw: I happened to read something related a couple of days ago: why-you-should-publish-your-research-in-academic-fashion. Maybe you should ask the author to link to your post?

Also: You have written "paper" instead of "journal" on the first line of your subsection Open access mega journals.


Thanks so much for the review! I would like to add that there is some evidence that simple acupressure mats help alleviate low back pain.

Thank you for writing this blogpost! 

I wondered whether you also specifically looked at population decline in developed countries? I would have thought that the most interesting question would be along the lines: Could demographic collapse in developed countries lead to decreased civilizational resilience? As trammell pointed out: Developed countries seem to be prone to population decline in the next century, particularly if the social trend to have fewer babies continues. I think it is also a bit misleading to talk about changes in total world population when the composition of this population is changing across time too. 

Thank you for writing up a well-researched article. Although I am skeptical that this would meet the effectiveness threshold for top funds, this might be of interest to local funds. I can imagine that local governments are willing to spend significant amounts on such a problem. Yet only if they are confident in alleviating the problem. However, the problem gets increasing attention.  Stray dogs seem to be an issue in other countries such as Romania as well.

I find your conclusion " [...] an economic cost of 3 Billion USD every year. The economic cost of Animal Birth Control to contain a FRD population in a city of 1 million people is around 1 million USD [...]" a bit misleading as you compare costs in different population  sizes. I would update this as either cost per million or per India.

I agree strongly! It would be interesting to research how economists have looked upon the creation of the internet. I guess that there is in fact little research on how the internet would change the world pre-1990. 

Thank you for publishing this post. In which way is this different from what Optimism tries to achieve? Also, what if the public good is difficult to monitor? It is hard to observe reductions in existential risk. How will the protocol pay out if there is large uncertainty regarding the effects of an intervention, even afterwards?

Exactly. Such problems are similar in nature. But it is important to point out that in such cases bilateral or multilateral agreements can be found relatively quickly (and have been in the past - see e.g. Rhine pollution treaty), whereas geoengineering needs a global treaty which is much harder to craft.

Hey John, thank you for the article! I feel that there is substantial confusion regarding whether to delay or even accelerate research into SRM and similar stuff. 

The argument against researching geoengineering methods seems to be that having SRM available in the short-term would do more harm than good.  However, this makes the fundamental assumption that research enables geoengineering in the first place. In my view, the "how to" deploy geoengineering is already public. Deployment (unilateral or not) could happen now.

If one assumes the „information hazard to be out of the box“, all that further geoengineering research does is reduce our uncertainty regarding the effects of environmental interventions. This seems to be a good thing. 

I also believe that (in the mid-term) geoengineering can be done for 1 billion $ or less as Marine Cloud Brightening seems to be potentially cheaper to implement and possibly harder to detect and trace. Furthermore, cost estimates do not account for accelerating technological progress that could cut costs relative to income even further in the next decades. 

Would love to hear your thoughts on this!

Wouldn´t this problem be solvable by creating a database/network of existing consultants, freelancers etc. that have a background in effective altruism? Then, whenever needed, you could assemble a team from this network and just pay their regular employers.

Also, this might in some cases be accepted as (price reduced) pro-bono work. And you would get free advertisement for EA Orgs on top.   

My initial hunch is that the amount of work that is EA-specific is not sufficiently big enough to run a EA-dedicated consultancy, especially if you consider the large amount of different fields that might benefit from specialization. However, I do not have a good picture of the demand. 

In any case, this sounds interesting and I would be interested in hearing more about this.

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