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AMA: Elizabeth Edwards-Appell, former State Representative

What decision-making frameworks did (and have) you find to be generally be more successful and persuasive? 

For example, did you find that the use of data and evidence led to a higher likelihood of aligning disparate stakeholders? What role did anecdote / story have? Did you observe median voter theorem to hold when decisions had to be made? 

The intersection of foreign aid and EA: a U.S. case study

This was a great summary of US foreign aid. I appreciate the research that went into this to synthesize deeply yet succinctly the key features of the system. I recently read Prof Angus Deaton's book, 'The Great Escape' in which he argues against broad based foreign aid, especially in the form that is described in this piece. I key element of his argument (as I understood it) is that there is a correlation between countries that receive aid and countries that depend on aid. Prof Deaton goes on to argue that those countries that are receiving aid are the ones that are actually negatively impacted by receiving aid due to corruption, poor administration, institutional challenges etc. Furthermore, Prof Deaton goes on to argue that how aid is provided will only perpetuate these issues in receiving countries. 

Given these challenges, I would be interested in your views on the very premise of foreign aid as an effective use of resources. 

EA and the Possible Decline of the US: Very Rough Thoughts

Fascinating read and potential concept, especially given what we have witnessed in the US over the past few months. I am interested in the framing of this piece around 'collapse' and more specifically how 'collapse' may be differentiated from a more general reduction in relative power? Is there something specific about a 'collapse' that differentiates it from the standard tectonic shifts of power that we have observed over the course of all human history that makes prioritization more important? 

In my opinion, the framing of a cause prioritization around 'collapse' creates risks of a false dichotomy, whereas more general prioritization on something like say institutional decision-making, policy-making or just more generally politics could provide a vast majority of the potential benefits that a cause priority focus on 'collapse' could bring. Simultaneously, these more general areas would likely provide more relevant insights with a higher likelihood of implementable positive social impact. 

Improving Institutional Decision-Making: a new working group

Thanks all for synthesizing these thoughts and laying out the team’s plan for the upcoming year. I look forward to reading more around how the team’s thoughts progress on these important questions. I understand that defining and subsequently determining ‘key institutions’ is a priority area for the team and so to the extent these still may be being considered please feel free to ignore. I have some questions regarding institutions as a vector for driving effective change. 

What would you consider to be the other main decision making vectors (I am imagining individuals, authoritarian leaders etc) and is there a reason why improving the decision-making processes of 'institutions' specifically should be prioritized over these other vectors? Do you see overlap between IIDM and the arguments for an increased focus on ‘economic growth’ style interventions? Accordingly, to what extent is IIDM analogous to driving effective change through improved macroeconomic interventions?