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Investing to Give: FP Research Report

Good question! There certainly is a strong case for funding global priorities research now, but there are multiple reasons why investing to give could still be better:

  • Certain insights make other insights easier to have: there might be a certain order in which insights need to be had, or at least a certain order might make things easier, and this could take time.
  • Funding to achieve these insights might be done by someone else in the counterfactual, and this other person or institution might not otherwise give to (as) high-impact stuff. Note that I'm not just talking about "targeted" global priorities research here: new insights might also come from or be aided by work by non-EA institutions.
  • Money isn't directly fungible with research results/it takes time to build the field of global priorities research: just throwing more money at e.g. the Global Priorities Institute will hit strong diminishing returns, and it takes time for enough talented researchers to be trained so that the field can absorb more funding.
The case for investing to give later

We certainly do, though we normally receive our funding from a small group of closely-connected funders rather than collecting donations publicly. But if you're interested in making a donation, please do reach out to info@founderspledge.com :).

Investing to Give: FP Research Report

Thanks for your comment. Please note though that most types of "flow-through effects" (including those in your example, if I understand you correctly) are included in the analysis.

Investment-like giving opportunities (as defined in the report) are only a very small subset of interventions with substantial flow-through effects, namely those whose gains are reprioritised towards the highest-impact opportunities at a later point in time. Giving to them is similar to investing to give in that both can benefit from exogenous learning.

The case for investing to give later
That is to say: if there's a sufficient compounding effect from movement building that we can't replace with money, then maybe we should spend a lot now on movement building.

I agree in principle, though it seems harder to ensure for other categories of movement-building that they will lead to prolonged compounding: encouraging investment seems the most straightforward way to make that happen, but not necessarily the only way.

The case for investing to give later

Thanks both! I largely agree and have incorporated an updated estimate into the new model (see above).

The case for investing to give later

Thank you MichaelA; happy to hear this was useful to you. I look forward to reading your post as well.

The case for investing to give later

Thanks! I largely agree with your comment on the risk of loss and have incorporated it into the new model.

The case for investing to give later
If (say) the total pool of EA-aligned funds grows by 50% over the next 5 years due to additional donors joining—which seems extremely plausible—it seems like that should make the marginal opportunity much more than 10% less good.

I'm not sure whether it would, considering, for example, the large room for funding GiveWell opportunities have had for multiple years (and will likely keep having) and their seemingly hardly diminishing cost-effectiveness on the margin (though data are obviously noisy here/there are other explanations).

But I do take your point that this is not a very conservative estimate. I'll update them from 1%/2% to 2%/4%, thank you!

but used 7% as your conservative estimate in the spreadsheet and in the bottom-line estimates you reported.

See the rest of the paragraph you refer to: the 5% is my conservative estimate for index investing, the 7% for investing more generally.

Long-term investment fund at Founders Pledge

Thanks Siebe. On (3) the fund as we currently see it would indeed attempt to address both (e.g. via evaluation on both that FP would also do otherwise), but it's a useful distinction to make.

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