Peter_Hurford comments on A model of StrongMinds - Oxford Prioritisation Project - Effective Altruism Forum

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Comment author: Peter_Hurford  (EA Profile) 14 May 2017 08:55:32PM 1 point [-]

Wouldn't ~$660/DALY be likely, approximately less cost-effective than GiveDirectly?

Comment author: ThomasSittler 23 May 2017 11:00:07AM *  0 points [-]

Wouldn't ~$660/DALY be likely, approximately less cost-effective than GiveDirectly?

That's indeed what our current model says. I have some more comments at the bottom of this post.

Comment author: MichaelPlant 15 May 2017 12:24:50AM 0 points [-]

Peter, do you have any figures Give Directly? Also, what is the measure of cost-effectiveness you're thinking of? Here's GiveWell's spreadsheet which, AFAICT, is in terms of "cost per life saved equivalent" which I'm not sure how to compare to DALYs or anything else (in fact, even after some searching, I'm still not sure what "cost per life saved equivalent" even is).

Comment author: Halstead 16 May 2017 02:05:30PM *  3 points [-]

Michael, the definition is here - https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1KiWfiAGX_QZhRbC9xkzf3I8IqsXC5kkr-nwY_feVlcM/edit#gid=1034883018

On the results tab, if you hover over the "cost per life saved equivalent" box, it says "A life saved equivalent is based on the "DALYs per death of a young child averted" input each individual uses. What a life saved equivalent represents will therefore vary from person to person. "

I agree this is too hard to find and it would be good if this were fixed. I'd also like to see the assumptions made about this figure more clearly spelled out

Comment author: Benito 15 May 2017 12:32:39AM 0 points [-]

I had been assuming "cost per life saved equivalent" meant somewhere in the range of 50-100 QALYs, the rough length of a human life.

(The "equivalent" thing would be about it being spread over many people - it's not the case that you literally gave one person a whole life, but you caused an equivalent amount of "good living" to happen.)

Comment author: MichaelPlant 15 May 2017 09:25:03PM 1 point [-]

Yeah, that seems plausible, but I'd like GW to set it out and argue for it, rather than for me/us to have to try and guess to work it out. I've searched

http://www.givewell.org/how-we-work/our-criteria/cost-effectiveness and http://www.givewell.org/how-we-work/our-criteria/cost-effectiveness/cost-effectiveness-models

And still can't find it.

Comment author: michaelchen 16 May 2017 12:24:51AM *  2 points [-]

From http://blog.givewell.org/2016/12/12/amf-population-ethics/

  • "According to the median GiveWell staff member, averting the death of a child under 5 averts about 8 DALYs (“Bed Nets”, B57)"
  • "each 5-or-over death prevented gets a weight of 4 “young life equivalent” units (“Bed Nets”, B62)"
  • "averting 1 DALY is equivalent to increasing ln(consumption) by one unit for three years (“Bed Nets”, B72)"

I think this "young life equivalent" is the same as what GiveWell calls in other places the "life equivalent."

Comment author: Benito 16 May 2017 09:57:21AM 0 points [-]

Well I don't understand that at all, and it seems to contradict my guess.

I thought DALYs had a more rigorous conversion than "we took our median estimate" and I thought a life was a full life, not just preventing death one time. Strike me wrong on this count.

Comment author: Owen_Cotton-Barratt 16 May 2017 10:37:59AM 2 points [-]

DALYs do use a more defensible analysis; GiveWell aren't using DALYs. This has some good and some bad aspects (related to the discussion in this post, although in this case the downside of defensibility is more that it doesn't let you incorporate considerations that aren't fully grounded).

The problem with just using DALYs is that on many views they overweigh infant mortality (here's my view on some of the issues, but the position that they overweigh infant mortality is far from original). With an internal agreement that they significantly overweigh infant mortality, it becomes untenable to just continue using DALYs, even absent a fully rigorous alternative. Hence falling back on more ad hoc but somewhat robust methods like asking people to consider it and using a median.

[I'm just interpreting GW decision-making from publicly available information; this might easily turn out to be a misrepresentation.]

Comment author: Peter_Hurford  (EA Profile) 16 May 2017 04:51:37PM *  0 points [-]

Back in 2007, GiveWell approximately defined a life saved as saving someone who had a 50% chance of reaching age 60, which would very roughly imply ~30 DALYs per life saved. This analysis is also likely out of date with GiveWell's modern views.

I agree I'd like to see more discussion of this issue.