Two interesting GiveWell updates

June 2015

I just got back from their most recent research event. One of the most interesting new takeaways for me was the work that GiveWell is doing to develop new top charities starting earlier in the pipeline:

  1. They’ve begun a partnership with IDInsight, an organization that runs cheaper but still rigorous randomized evaluations of development interventions. GiveWell is providing funding for IDInsight to evaluate a program of providing incentives to immunize children.

  2. They’re providing some startup grants to organizations that they think might have the potential to become new top charities. Elie gave New Incentives as a particular example. New Incentives provides cash transfers to HIV-positive expecting mothers when the mothers comply with the medications that prevent their child from developing HIV. NI has a combination of a founder that GiveWell found to be very trustworthy and competent, and an intervention (conditional cash transfers) with robust support in the literature, so Good Ventures made them a large start-up(ish) grant.

  3. They’ve also looked into funding the creation of new evidence for interventions that don’t currently have it. For instance, Good Ventures made a grant to Evidence Action to do more exploratory research into conditional cash transfers in Bangladesh to incentivize farmers to emigrate to the city and send money home during the fallow season on the farm.

Somehow I managed to miss these developments when they first came up in my GiveWell feeds, so it was good to be reminded of them at the event!


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Elie Hassenfeld

Hi Ben,

Really glad you enjoyed the event. One quick clarification: IDinsight is now working on a project to provide an independent evaluation of one of SCI’s programs. We had tentatively planned to fund IDinsight to evaluate an incentives for immunization programs, but we then learned that J-PAL was working on two RCTs of the same program (more here: http://files.givewell.org/…/J-PAL%20EvAct%2012-22-2014…).

We are planning to write about all three items you listed, but what we’ve published is currently lagging behind grants we’ve made. I hope that these reporting lags are a short-term issue that we’re able to resolve as we increase capacity.

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