Thursday, December 12, 2013

How to think about displacing Good Ventures in funding GiveWell Labs?

Summary: It appears likely that visibly investing funds to donate next year would be a better bet than donating to GiveWell's 2013 picks, based on expected 2014 opportunities. How does this compare to donating to GiveWell's research fundraising, i.e. substituting for dollars that would otherwise be raised by Good Ventures? Since Good Ventures is investing most of its resources (with economies of scale in investment) for use when better information is available, this can be seen as another way to invest for future donation prospects. The value of doing this, compared to a donor-advised fund, should depend on one's beliefs about possible future disagreements, economies of scale, signalling, and incentives. Those who would firmly plan to give from their donor-advised funds based on GiveWell and Good Ventures recommendations have a good case for supporting GiveWell research, even if is not expected to increase research activity. 

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

What proxies to use for flow-through effects?

Summary: When assessing altruistic interventions from a long-run perspective, particularly ones which do not act directly on the long-run (like averting human extinction) assessing flow-through effects is essential. In this post I raise some possible metrics to use in assessing flow-through effects. The causal relationships between them are unclear, and exogenous interventions to boost a metric may break correlations with other outcomes: they are intended as a set of candidates to reference in later discussion. Additional candidates are welcome in the comments.

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Thoughts on GiveWell's 2013 recommendations

Summary: Some observations regarding GiveWell's 2013 charity recommendations.