Ben_Todd comments on Fact checking comparison between trachoma surgeries and guide dogs - Effective Altruism Forum

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Comment author: Ben_Todd 15 May 2017 04:13:51AM *  9 points [-]

Hi Peter,

Some examples that might be useful:

1) Differences in income

A US college graduate earns about 100x more than GiveDirectly recipients, suggesting money can go far further with GiveDirectly. (100x further if utility ~log-income.) https://80000hours.org/career-guide/anyone-make-a-difference/

2) The cost to save a life

GiveWell now says $7500 for a death prevented by malaria nets (plus many other benefits) Rich country governments, however, are often willing to pay over $1m to save a life of one of their citizens, a factor of 130+ difference. https://80000hours.org/career-guide/world-problems/#global-health-a-problem-where-you-could-really-make-progress

3) Cost per QALY

It still seems possible to save QALYs for a few hundred dollars in the developing world, whereas the UK's NHS is willing to fund most things that save a QALY for under £20,000, and some that are over £30,000, which is again a factor of 100 difference.

So I still think a factor of 100x difference is defensible, though if you also take into account Brian's point below, then it might be reduced to, say, a factor of 30, though that's basically just a guess, and it could go the other way too. More on this: http://reflectivedisequilibrium.blogspot.com/2014/01/what-portion-of-boost-to-global-gdp.html