Thanks for this post jh. It's an interesting idea that indeed seems worth exploring more. As an aside/Just musing, I wonder whether there are opportunities to correlate things that we'd like to be correlated with each other beyond philanthropy, e.g. in our careers or personal lives.
Hi George, thanks for sharing this! You wrote in your blog that you were considering investing your money, but that this was difficult in the UK. If you are referring to investing to give rather than just postponing for a year, FYI we'll likely have a Long-Term Investment Fund at Founders Pledge by the end of next year, which we might open up to the public and will likely be accessible from the UK. Do let me know if this would interest you, as knowing there is non-member interest might inform our decisions around opening it up.
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:
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 email@example.com :).
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.
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.
Thanks both! I largely agree and have incorporated an updated estimate into the new model (see above).
Thank you MichaelA; happy to hear this was useful to you. I look forward to reading your post as well.
Thanks! I largely agree with your comment on the risk of loss and have incorporated it into the new model.
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 ... (read more)
GiveWell top charities are relatively extreme in the flatness of their returns curves among areas EA is active in, which is related to their being part of a vast funding pool of global health/foreign aid spending, which EA contributions don't proportionately increase much.
In other areas like animal welfare and AI risk EA is a very large proportional source of funding. So this would seem to require an important bet that areas with relatively flat marginal returns curves are and will be the best place to spend.
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.
Thanks! These are useful examples.
Hi Habryka, just wanted to draw your attention to the update above, which is in part referring to some of your comments that have been incorporated in the new version of the report. Thanks for those!
This is to thank you (and others) once more for all your comments here, and to let you know they have been useful and we have incorporated some changes to account for them in a new version of the report, which will be published in March or April. They were also useful in our internal discussion on how to frame our research, and we plan to keep improving our communication around this throughout the rest of the year, e.g. by publishing a blog post / brief on cause prioritisation for our members.
I also largely agree with the views you express in yo... (read more)
Very quick reply as I don't have much time now: note that this statistic is about intimate partner violence and sexual violence (where there is a clear difference between men and women), not about violence as a whole. This is clear in the body of the report; the statistic was shortened (though still correct) for the executive summary. Of course this doesn't fully change your point, but it does influence it a little bit. (I agree that when looking at violence generally we should compare the two)
Note also, as noted in the edit to the main post, that this re
No problem, thanks for your comments anyway and please let me know if any part of your critique remains that I haven't engaged with. (Please see edit in main post which should have cleared most up)
Habryka: Did you see this line in the introduction of this post?
Thanks for pointing this out, Aaron! Happy that's cleared up.
On the other hand, it does seem like a specific GiveWell charity or two should have shown up on this list, or that FP should have explicitly noted GiveWell's higher overall impact (if the impact actually was higher; it seems like GiveDirectly isn't clearly better than Village Enterprise or Bandhan at boosting consumption, at least based on my reading of p. 5o of the 2018 GD study, which showed a boost of roughly 0.3
Please see my updates in the main post and let me know if you still have questions about this. (Do you now understand why we didn't recommend any other specific GW- or FP-recommended charity in this report, but referred to them as a group?)
As I mentioned in the other comment, I am still not sure why you do not recommend any GW top charities directly. It seems like your report should answer the question "what charities improve women's health the most?" not the question "what charities that exclusively focus on women's health ar... (read more)
Just to clarify, at FP we don't take existing priorities/preferences as a given, but we of course do take them into account to some extent when making recommendations (if only because otherwise nobody would follow those recommendations!). We currently use something called the value-discovery approach, which is about asking members about the underlying values driving their preferences (e.g. do you care about people living in the future?), and then making cause/charity recommendations based on those rather than on cause/charity preferences themselves. We also spend quite some time on educating our community on EA/effective giving principles, e.g. this is a main focus of our Programmes team.
Thanks for these questions Siebe! And I take your point on sharing context; I'll edit in some points in the main post.
1. We have internally compared these charities on something close to a DALY-equivalent to aid our decisions (similar to what GiveWell does in their cost-effectiveness analyses), but have not included this in the report. This is not because of any assumptions the report makes on empowerment (note that it defines empowerment simply as 'improving lives'). It's mainly because of time constraints: we didn't think it was ... (read more)
I'd distinguish between two ways in which a report can 'be' cause-neutral:
1. Whether its domain of focus/cause area was chosen purely through cause prioritisation
2. Whether its contents are of value from a cause-neutral perspective
Now I agree that this report is not cause-neutral on (1): it was written at least partially because many of FP's community members are interested in women's empowerment.*
However, note that cause prioritisation is just a heuristic to restrict our domain of search: what you want to compare in the end are th... (read more)