Rob Gledhill

CBG Program manager @ CEA
Working (6-15 years of experience)


I've only been at CEA for a part of Max's tenure - but it's been a real privilege seeing you work. Absolutely incredible what you've achieved. 

I agree with this statement entirely.


Go team!

I was surprised by your “unpleasant to a lot of communities” comment. By that, are you referring to the dynamic where if you have to place value on outcomes, some people/orgs will be disappointed with the value you place on their work?


Not really. I was more referring that any attempt to quantify the likely impact someone will have is (a) inaccurate (b) likely to create some sort of hierarchy and unhealthy  community dynamics.


This seems like another area where control groups would be helpful in making the exercise an actual experiment. Seems like a fairly easy place to introduce at least some randomization into

I agree with this, I like the idea of successful groups joining existing mentorship programs such that there is a natural control group of "average of all the other mentors." (There are many ways this experiment would be imperfect, as I'm sure you can imagine) - I think the main implementation challenge here so far has been "getting groups to actually want to do this." We are very careful to preserve the groups' autonomy, I think this acts as a check on  our behaviour. If groups engage on programs with us voluntarily, and we don't make that engagement a condition of funding, it demonstrates that our programs are  at least delivering value in the eyes of the organizers. If we started trying to claim more autonomy and started designating groups into experiments, we'd lose one of our few feedback measures. On balance I think I would prefer to have the feedback mechanism rather than the experiment. (The previous paragraph does contain some simplifications, it would certainly be possible to find examples of where we haven't optimised purely for group autonomy)

Hey, thanks for this. I work on CEA's groups team. When you say "we don’t know much about which work ... has the most impact on the outcomes we care about" - I think I would rather say

a) We have a reasonable, yet incomplete, view on how many people different groups cause to engage in EA, and some measure on what is the depth of that engagement

b) We are unsure  how many of those people would have become engaged in EA anyway

c) We do not have a good mapping from "people engaging with EA" to the things that we actually want in the world

I think we should be sharing more of the data we have on what types of community building have, so far, seemed to generate more engagement.  To this end we have  a contractor who will be providing a centralized service for some community building tasks, to help spread what is working. I also think groups that seem to be performing well should be running experiments where other groups adopt their model. I have proposed this to several groups, and will continue to do so.

However trying to predict the mapping from engagement to good things happening in the world is (a) sufficiently difficult that I don't think anyone can do it reliably (b) deeply unpleasant to a lot of communities. In trying to measure this we could decrease the amount of good that is happening in the world - and also probably wouldn't succeed in taking the measurement accurately.

Thanks Jona, I agree that there is potential applicability beyond city and national groups - including for individuals.

I'm excited by the results of the A/B/C/D testing!

This is great. It is friendships that kept me anchored in EA when I was in  my earning to give phase

After looking into how average temperatures are calculated, I get "Average yearly temperature is calculated by averaging the minimum and maximum daily temperatures in the country, averaged for the years 1961–1990, based on gridded climatologies from the Climatic Research Unit elaborated in 2011."

This means a country like France, that is mostly quite warm, but also has Mont Blanc, where it will be cold at the top, would look significantly cooler than it is.

I think using the average temperature of the capital city is more useful, as this gives you the temperature in the place that the people are (

Maybe I can give a few thoughts on Chile to help your search.

  • Average temperature may be confusing, given that Arica is currently too hot for agriculture, and Tierra del Fuego is too cold for agriculture,  I think a temperature change would just change where the agriculture was happening (this seems really critical, changing Chile's temperature rating can make it overtake Uruguay in your spreadsheet)
  • Chile already has desalination plants for the mining industry, which is promising for building more desalination plants to support agriculture (as I can't predict what effect a nuclear winter would have on rain patterns)
  • [If this is about where to move to] The speed and transparency of the visa process is important, as a recent immigrant to Chile, I'd say transparency is good and speed is average (~3 months)
  • [If this is about where to move to] Population density and sentiment towards immigrants seem important - outside of the Region Metropolitano, there is very obviously space in Chile - and it is a great place to be an immigrant if (and only if) you have a white collar job


Not specific to Chile

  • Years of education is a component of HDI, if you have already completed your education, I don't think this effects you so much (also caring about years in education rather than quantity learnt seems to be missing the point). As such I'd recommend using GDP per capita (PPP) and life expectancy
  • Crime is likely to spike in a crisis, I'd prefer to be somewhere with low current crime rates
  • I think you should penalise landlocked countries, as this does add a dependency on other countries and you need things to go right in more places
  • When I look at the top places in the Food Security Index, I have places like the UK in #3 spot, despite the fact that it imports a large share of it's food. Even if I rank by the "natural resources and resilience" sub-index - I see net food importers surprisingly high in the list (and Norway and Finland are #1 and 2 in the natural resources and resilience sub-index. I would not like to be farming in Norway and Finland after global temperatures drop)
  • I am somewhat sceptical of the global peace index - just based on a quick investigation, it has the UK as more peaceful than Chile - scoring Chile worse in "ongoing conflict" and "safety and security" - this is despite the UK frequently deploys troops abroad, the UK has multiple regions that want to break away, and Chile has not been involved in a war since WW2 - I haven't fully unpacked this, but to me it doesn't pass a sniff test

Thanks Gidon - I really like this post. A few reactions:

  • I think "helping others" sounds like it's exclusively about humans. I agree "doing good" is hard to picture, but part of this is out of genuine uncertainty on the human/animal trade-offs
  • What made prioritization really click for me was an example, I agree with you that this is the most central idea, and as a result, I think in an intro it is worth giving an example of two interventions intended to help the same target population, where one is way more effective (for me it was comparing two health interventions that both naively sounded like "good" things to do)