Elityre comments on A Research Framework to Improve Real-World Giving Behavior - Effective Altruism Forum

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Comment author: Elityre 08 October 2018 04:36:07PM 4 points [-]

I'm not sure how much having a "watered down" version of EA ideas in the zeitgeist helps because, I don't have a clear sense of how effective most charities are.

If the difference between the median charity and the most impactful charity is 4 orders of magnitude ($1 to the most impactful charities does as much good as $1000 to the the median charity), then even a 100x improvement from the median charity is not very impactful. It's still only 1% as good a donating to the best charity. If that were the case, it's probably more efficient to just aim to get more people to adopt the whole EA mindset.

On the other hand, if the variation is much smaller, it might be the case that a 100x improvement get's you to about half of the impact per dollar of the best charities.

Which world we're living in matters a lot for whether we should invest in this strategy.

That said, promotion of EA principles, like cost effectiveness and EV estimates, separate from the EA brand, seem almost universally good, and extend far beyond people's choice of charities.

Comment author: Jon_Behar 08 October 2018 05:51:56PM 1 point [-]

Definitely agree on the value of spreading basic principles, though I think we also need to focus on some charity-specific themes given that we want to change giving behavior. In addition to the general frameworks you mention, I think it’s valuable to promote “intentional”, “informed”, and “impactful” giving as these are very uncontroversial ideas. And while it’s most valuable when someone buys into all three of those notions in a big way, there’s also value to getting a lot of people to buy in partially. If millions more people see the value of informed giving, incentives will improve and new products will emerge to meet that demand.

FWIW, I think the more accessible approach makes sense even in a world with huge variation in impact across charities. I think you’ll get more money to the “elite” charities if you have a culture where people seek out the best cancer charity they can find, the best local org they can find, etc vs trying “to get more people to adopt the whole EA mindset.”