Peter_Hurford comments on How to get a new cause into EA - Effective Altruism Forum

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Comment author: Peter_Hurford  (EA Profile) 12 January 2018 04:05:09PM 4 points [-]

I'm still waiting for anyone to tell me where my EV calcs have gone wrong and drug policy reform wouldn't be more cost-effective than anything in GiveWell's repertoire.

One thing I'd note here is that the rigor of GiveWell analysis versus your EV calcs is very different. There are other EV calcs out there with similar rigor that promise significantly higher $/good stuff, such as most stuff in the far future cause-space.

I argued you, whoever you are, probably don't want to donate the Against Malaria Foundation. I explain it's probably a mistake for EAs to focus too much on 'saving lives' at the expense of either 'improving lives' or 'saving humanity'.

I'd also note that GiveWell replied to your argument here: https://blog.givewell.org/2016/12/12/amf-population-ethics/

Comment author: MichaelPlant 12 January 2018 05:49:14PM 2 points [-]

the rigor of GiveWell analysis versus your EV calcs is very different

Sort of a side question, but could you say what sort of thing you had in mind? i.e. the particular sense in which GW's calc are rigorous. I ask because I find their assumptions odd/pretty disatisfying and think they leave out loads of stuff. I mean to write about when I find time.

This isn't to say my calculations are more rigorous than theirs. GW have loads more detail.

Comment author: Peter_Hurford  (EA Profile) 29 January 2018 03:56:43PM 1 point [-]

I think I'd broadly model rigor on a framework like this as the standard deviation of the estimate of cost-effectiveness when using a X% credibility interval (where X% is consistent across all compared intervals). Models with lower standard deviations can be said to be more rigorous as there are less (known) sources of uncertainty.