--- This blog post has been edited and updated based on new information sent to us about the relationship between IQ and income. We feel as though the evidence is more positive than we originally wrote but still not enough to change our conclusion that there is insufficient evidence of a connection between IQ and other positive life outcomes for us to value increasing IQ as a potential metric. ---
If you want to create an effective charity, how do you know if it is effective?
A very common answer is, by doing detailed measurement and evaluation. But this is harder than it sounds. While research is hard to get right in general, the difficulty starts just with the measurement… which metric should you measure?
When we decided to do this project many of our advisors suggested we spend time in the developing world to get a stronger sense of some factors that we wouldn’t from reading the statistics. Only one member of our team had spent significant time in the developing world and we thought there could be considerable learning value from spending some time there.
We recognize that our internal research is greatly outpacing our current external publication of that research and that people may have questions and feedback that could help us do better research. While we do intend to write up all of our thoughts at length over the coming months, we thought the easiest way to bridge the gap in the meantime was to hold an open Skype call about our research.
We have recently published some summaries of our research from the first two months, as well as our intervention spreadsheet and soon plan on publishing our promising charity ideas for future research.
We would love to hear from anyone who has questions or comments on any of these topics. The format would be a brief summary of our research with the majority of the time open for questions. The call will be held Thursday March 24th at 7pm PST. To join the call, dial 1-302-202-1119 and enter the conference code 654083. If you would like to ask a question you can email it, before or during the call to firstname.lastname@example.org or press “5*” during the conference to queue to ask a question. We will post a recording of the call afterwards so that anyone interested can listen.
Two months ago, we set out to identify possibilities for future GiveWell top charities, with the intention to start one ourselves. We started out by looking at the GiveWell priority program list and added a few more interventions we thought could be promising as we conducted our initial research. We ended up with a list of 28 target interventions to research further.
After two months of research, we have now reviewed all our target interventions, ranking each on eight key criteria (from low to high) and producing overall scores (out of ten). Here are our results:
We researched each intervention for about fifty hours each, producing over 900 pages of notes. We already explained the interventions that didn’t make the cut and why. Over the next month, we will be posting many blog posts explaining our thinking on these criteria and outlining our research on six interventions that did make the cut. We will also eventually start posting our ideas about which concrete charities we think may be high value and why.
After completing our first two months of research across thirty intervention areas, we have now selected numerous specific charity ideas from eight broad intervention areas for further research. Twenty-two intervention areas have been ruled out for further research, as we don’t think they offer as strong options as these other eight intervention areas.