Hi Peter, thanks for your comment!
I must admit I have not really thought about this before, but intuitively it still seems important to have appropriate road safety legislation like speed limits in place even if it is robocars following them rather than human drivers. In fact, I could see it as important to have appropriate speed limits in place before the introduction of robocars in case robocars are programmed to drive faster than is safe as a reflection of a too high speed limit.
I think the use of seat belts is still a good norm to have, even if robocars will drive safer than human drivers.
I'm not sure whether this would affect the timing of the transition, but if the robocar was going to be programmed with a speed limit anyway then lowering the speed limit doesn't seem like it would slow down the transition (not sure on this though).
Hey Devon, thanks for your comment!
As you can see above, Larks raised a similar concern in their comment. After a quick Google search, I have found some data on this from the UK - "Each 1 mph reduction in average traffic speed costs the UK economy in excess of £1Bn in lost productivity through extended journey times" (https://www.abd.org.uk/press-release-hes-proposed-motorway-speed-limit-reduction-to-60mph-borders-on-economic-vandalism/). This suggests the impact could be quite significant and could give us reason to reduce the economic impacts that are currently being modeled to account for this lost productivity. However, as the World Health Organization found that the economic impact of road traffic injuries is approximately 3% of GDP, I think the economic impacts would still be net-positive.
Hi, thanks for your comment and apologies for the somewhat belated response!
On increasing travel times - yeah I think this is a really interesting point and something that we didn't consider when modeling the CEA. I think it may be best to discount the income effects of this intervention as a result of this. After a quick Google search, I have found some data on this from the UK - "Each 1 mph reduction in average traffic speed costs the UK economy in excess of £1Bn in lost productivity through extended journey times" (https://www.abd.org.uk/press-release-hes-proposed-motorway-speed-limit-reduction-to-60mph-borders-on-economic-vandalism/). This suggests the impact could be quite significant, though as the World Health Organization found that the economic impact of road traffic injuries is approximately 3% of GDP, I think the economic impacts would still be net-positive.
Clare's point on traffic jams is an important consideration here, both for your point and for the promise of this intervention - if drivers are never getting up to the speed limit, then decreasing them looks less promising. This was a concern we were aware of, but we felt unable to address from our desktop research, but this is something we will highlight to the founders of this organization, and it is something that they will be able to assess when doing country scoping visits.
Perhaps these considerations make advocacy on seat-belt legislation look more promising than advocacy to reduce speed limits. This would be good to pass on to the potential founders so that they can weigh up these considerations.
On the stress of getting pulled over by the police, I am not sure I can comment usefully on this as I don't know too much about it, but thanks for raising the concern, and thanks Clare for the insight from Sierra Leone.
Hi Clare - thanks for your response! Yeah, I do think enforcement really is the main concern for this intervention, and the experts we spoke with also mentioned that bribes are common in the areas where they have worked (mainly Sub-Saharan Africa).As mentioned in the report we have tried to somewhat get around this issue in our country selection by selecting countries that seem to have good enforcement of other road traffic safety laws (either from eg. the percentage seat-belt or helmet wearing rate or from the average rating given to the enforcement mechanisms of that country by different stakeholders of that country). This definitely isn't totally bypassing the issue, though, and these numbers can only tell us so much. This is definitely the limitation of the desktop research we do and we will stress the importance of country scoping visits to the founders of this charity so they can better get a sense of what things are like on the ground and hope that they can find a country where these enforcement issues seem surmountable.
Re the motorcycle helmet law: That's interesting! We did consider motorcycle helmet laws but ultimately ruled them out in favour of speed limits and seat belt laws as they seemed more scalable (a bigger issue in more countries).
To add to what Sam said - we are also planning on publishing the other health and development policy ideas that we did full, deep-dive reports on but didn't end up recommending on our website and at least one of these, our report on air quality, will also be published on the forum!
Apologies for the belated response, I missed this!
The pitch for shrimp welfare would be similar to the pitch of invertebrate welfare in general where even if the case for shrimp sentience is weaker than the case for mammal, bird, and fish sentience, the expected value of helping shrimp might be higher than the expected value of helping mammals, birds, and fish due to the large scale of their suffering. For example, fishcount estimate that 51-167 billion fish were slaughtered in 2017, and 210-530 billion shrimps and prawns were slaughtered.
I think the case for working to end the practice of eyestalk ablation is particularly strong as it is such a horrific practice that it could be seen as low hanging fruit. This could then be a good 'foot-in-the-door' for other shrimp welfare issues.
Yeah, welfare points are a per-animal metric, but they are discounted by our best guess at the likelihood of sentience of each animal so we have estimated that shrimp have a 10% likelihood of sentience and cows, to use your example, have a 75% likelihood of sentience. So an intervention that affects shrimp would have to affect sufficiently more welfare points than an intervention that affects cow to be considered cost-effective. I hope this makes sense!
As mentioned in comments above, yeah I agree with this but just assumed that all costs would be funded by donations to try and keep the CEA simple (modelling the cost effectiveness of a for-profit company ended up being more difficult than I thought it would be).
1. That is a good point, I did implicitly try and account for the probability of success when estimating the probability of the different potential scenarios (IF launch, we launch, both launch) in this model, but this was never done explicitly as its own factor. To account for this, we could multiply the expected impact by the expected probability of success (the average food start-up has a ~10% probability of success).
2. Yeah I agree that this would be more realistic, we just assumed that all funding would be donated to make the CEA simpler.
Hi Michael, sorry for the belated response.
You make a lot of interesting points in your comments, some of which I hadn't considered. As a general point before replying to any specifics, I found it really difficult to model a CEA for a for-profit company so this is definitely by no means perfect as I had to make a lot of weird assumptions to try and make it work, such as assuming that all of the funding would be donated by EA funds rather than met by investors etc. and that we wouldn't own any shares in the company.
I think you make a good point, though, that financial returns probably should be included in this. Also, again I think you're right that we could have taken a more in-depth look at the counterfactuals of the co-founders as they definitely could earn-to-give in this position, though as you said they would likely take much lower salaries than the average start-up founder. Both of these factors would make this intervention more cost effective, though I am unsure by how much. Thinking about this, this just makes me more excited for plant-based start-ups to focus on plant-based seafood! Though I still don't think that CE would be best placed to help this start-up, I think the market would do a much better job.
Yeah this report was split between me doing research into feed fortification in India and George doing research into DO in Taiwan.
That's a good question, I don't think it was intentional - probably just the way we both went about modelling things. But I will leave George to answer that properly as to why he used log-normal.