The GiveWell Blog

Cash transfers vs. microloans

We’ve written that people in the developing world can get very high returns – in excess of 20% annually (and sometimes much more) – on cash transfers. We’ve previously argued that this is both plausible and empirically supported. However, it raises the question: “If people in the developing world can get such good returns on… Read More

The case for cash

Our choice to name GiveDirectly as our #2 charity has drawn some surprise and criticism. GiveDirectly seeks to deliver 90c directly into the hands of the very poor (no strings attached) for every $1 of total organizational expenses. There are many people who consider this intervention “unproven” (since there is not research linking cash transfers… Read More

Cost-effectiveness of nets vs. deworming vs. cash transfers

Update 12/5/2014: we update our cost-effectiveness models annually. The most up-to-date versions can be found here.  This post discusses how we see the relative “bang-for-the-buck” – good accomplished per dollar spent – of three interventions: Distribution of insecticide-treated nets to fight malaria, the intervention carried out by our #1 charity (the Against Malaria Foundation). Unconditional direct… Read More

Evidence of impact for long-term benefits

We’ve recently published our updated review on the evidence on cash transfers. It elaborates on a claim we’ve made previously – that there is evidence for long-term benefits from cash transfers at high average rates of return. Some people have expressed skepticism of this evidence, pointing to several limitations: there are not many studies, some… Read More

Giving cash versus giving bednets

We recently published a new review of GiveDirectly, a “standout” charity that gives cash directly to poor people in Kenya. As we were going through the process of discussing and vetting the new review, I found myself wondering how I would defend my preference to donate to distribute insecticide-treated bednets (ITNs) against a serious advocate… Read More

How not to be a “white in shining armor”

This post inspired by the upcoming Day Without Dignity online event GiveWell’s current top-rated charities focus on proven, cost-effective health interventions. These interventions appear to solve certain problems (malaria, parasites) quite well, while making no direct attempt to solve other problems (economic growth, education, gender equity, and more). One of the common lines of objection… Read More