Effective Altruism Forum
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Impact Markets: The Annoying Details
I’m confused about how you trace whether a project was responsible for an outcome. Two examples:
Many scientific discoveries are the result of many researchers working on a problem for a long time, making it difficult to trace back whose contribution had what fractional impact towards e.g. an AI alignment breakthrough. But if we’re only paying the person who did the last bit, we’re dramatically underfunding all projects that lay important groundwork, and overfunding work near the end.
If malaria decreases in Senegal, but then two different charities claim this effect, one of which was doing mosquito gene drives and the other of which was distributing bednets. There is insufficient data to run an RCT good enough to provide high precision about the relative strength of these interventions. Do the VCs need to spend all their time trying to figure out how future RCT designs will or will not structurally favor their investment?