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Peter_Hurford comments on The value of money going to different groups - Effective Altruism Forum

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Comment author: Peter_Hurford  (EA Profile) 17 May 2017 03:25:00AM 2 points [-]

GiveWell's "Your Dollar Goes Further Overseas" is, I think, the best attempt at answering that question and making that case.

Comment author: david_reinstein 20 May 2017 06:23:46PM 1 point [-]

That page is good, but it would be better if they could give an apples-to-apples comparison. There must be domestic US charities that aim to save lives domestically, from which a 'cost per life saved' estimate could be drawn. ... Or a developing country charity that provides a similar service as the US charities mentioned (education, neo-natal care, etc), from which many more people could be serverd for the same $.

Comment author: RandomEA 22 May 2017 12:17:47AM *  1 point [-]

I think the best comparison to the Against Malaria Foundation would be the Nurse Family Partnership (NFP), which also primarily benefits young children (albeit through a different intervention). Olds et al. (2014) reports the results of an RCT examining the effect of NFP on child mortality and maternal mortality,[1] and GiveWell has an (old) estimate of the cost per child served for the Nurse Family Partnership.[2] You could potentially use these two sources to arrive at a rough estimate of the cost per death averted for NFP.

[1] https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamapediatrics/fullarticle/1886653

[2] http://www.givewell.org/united-states/charities/nfp

Comment author: Peter_Hurford  (EA Profile) 21 May 2017 05:18:04AM *  1 point [-]

Tengs, et. al. (1994) quotes some cost-effectiveness estimates for a bunch of developed world interventions. The best seems to be anti-smoking campaigns.

Xu, et. al. (2015) finds a US CDC-led antismoking campaign to cost $393 per life year and $268 per QALY. Ratcliffe, Cairns, & Platt (1997) find a Scottish anti-smoking campaign to save a life year for £304-£656 (roughly $742-$1603 in 2016 USD). Stevens, Thorogood, and Kayikki (2002) found a London anti-smoking campaign to cost £33-£391 per life year ($66-$786 in 2016 US dollars).

Apples-to-apples, we could look at anti-smoking campaigns in the developing world, with Savedoff and Alwang (2015), writing for the Center for Global Development, quoting it as $3 - $70 per DALY averted.

Taking these numbers literally, it looks like developing world anti-smoking campaigns are ~20x more cost-effective than developed world anti-smoking campaigns. Other interventions are likely to be even more tilted in favor of the developing world, because they treat important problems that just aren't problems here anymore. Malaria is still a huge problem in Africa, but was eradicated in the US by 1960.

I think that's the best direct comparison I have right now.