Quant Trader in Chicago
This is very cool! I share your view that comprehensive data is an important part of my personal e2g decision-making (and can be difficult to find).
If you haven't seen it already, this recent post by Ben Todd is probably the best source I know of as far as resource allocation.
Make a line plot of cumulative grants from Open Philanthropy (for each focus area individually and in total).Do all the same plots I have for Open Philanthropy for EA Funds as well.
I made a rough attempt to this effect earlier this year (there you can also find a link to the source code).
That all seems reasonable.
Shouldn’t the displacement value be a factor though? This might be wrong, but my thinking is (a) the replacement person in the $1M job will on average give little or nothing to effective charity (b) the switcher has no prior experience or expertise in non-profit, so presumably the next-best hire there is only marginally worse?
In reality I don't think we'd want to go that close to the breakeven point - because there may be better uses of money, due to the reputation costs of unusually high salaries, and because salaries are harder to lower than to raise (and so if uncertain, it's better to undershoot).
Good points, I agree it would be better to undershoot.
Still, even with the pessimistic assumptions, the high end of that $0.4-4M range seems quite unlikely.
Does 80k actually advise people making >$1M to quit their jobs in favor of entry-level EA work? If so, that would be a major update to my thinking.
Agreed, just a function of how many salaries you assume will have to be doubled alongside to fill that one position
(a) Hopefully, doubling ten salaries to fill one is not a realistic model. Each incremental wage increase should expand the pool of available labor. If the EA movement is labor-constrained, I expect a more modest raise would cause supply to meet demand.
(b) Otherwise, we should consider that the organization was paying only half of market salary, which perhaps inflated their ‘effectiveness’ in the first place. Taking half of your market pay is itself an altruistic act, which is not counted towards the org’s costs. Presumably if these folks chose that pay cut, they would also choose to donate much of their excess salary (whether pay raise from this org, or taking a for-profit gig).
Doubling costs to get +10% labour doesn't seem like a great deal
I agree in principal, but in this case the alternative is eliminating$400k-4M of funding, which is much more expensive than doubling the salary of e.g. a research assistant.
To be clear, I am more so skeptical of this valuation than I am actually suggesting doubling salaries. But conditional on the fact that one engaged donor entering the non-profit labor force is worth >$400k, seems like the right call.
For each person in a leadership role, there’s typically a need for at least several people in the more junior versions of these roles or supporting positions — e.g. research assistants, operations specialists, marketers, ML engineers,...I’d typically prefer someone in these roles to an additional person donating $400,000–$4 million per year
If this is true, why not spend way more on recruiting and wages? It's surprising to me that the upper bound could be so much larger than equivalent salary in the for-profit sector.
I might be missing something, but it seems to me the basic implication of the funding overhang is that EA should convert more of its money into 'talent' (via Meta spending or just paying more).
Thanks for writing, and I agree it would be great to see more like this in future.
It does seem like 'ideal portfolio of resources' vs 'ideal split of funds donated this year' can be quite a bit different—perhaps a question for next time?
(see here for some similar funding estimates)
Thanks for sharing! I like the way you phrased it in the interview, I think that’s a nice way to start.
I totally forgot about that article, thank you for pointing it out! That is an excellent resource.
Your concern totally makes sense. Something I've been thinking about lately is whether EA should make a more concerted effort to promote 'streams' of varying fidelity intended for audiences which are coming from very different places.
Put another way: say I have a co-worker who every year gives to traditional, community-based charitable orgs, and has never considered giving that money elsewhere. Is this person more likely to spend the time on excellent and in-depth philosophical articles + podcasts I push on them, or engage with a more direct and irrefutable appeal to logic? I tend to think that the latter can serve as a gateway to the former.
I see now that this and a couple other points were mentioned in Repledge++. One more I would add to the list:
'Relative advantage' in cash vs percentage terms could be a sticking point. In the case of a $10M/$8M split, giving $2M/$0 to the respective candidates seems unfair to candidate B, because $2M is infinitely more than $0 in percentage terms. Say this money was going to ad buys, instead of running 100 vs 80 ad spots, candidate A now runs 20 spots vs zero for candidate B, and is the only candidate on the airwaves.
I would argue that a fair split would be $1.111M vs $0.889M, but I'm not sure that supporters of candidate A would agree.
Of course, if you assume that the platform is only a tiny fraction of total campaign contributions this is much less significant, but still worth a thought.