The GiveWell Blog

Surgeries performed vs. cases of blindness prevented

We’ve written before about the possibility that surgeries to correct blindness are extremely cost effective. While summarizing the evidence of effectiveness for trachoma interventions, we’ve learned more and it’s clear that equating surgeries performed with cases of blindness prevented is plain wrong. I read Trachoma: an overview, a literature review of the evidence of effectiveness… Read More

Publication bias: Over-reporting good news

As we look for evidence-backed programs, a major problem we’re grappling with is publication bias – the tendency of both researchers and publishers to skew the evidence to the optimistic side, before it ever gets out in the open where we can look at it. It sounds too scary to be real – how can… Read More

BBB standards: Accountability or technicalities?

Yesterday we got an email from someone looking for help on where to give, noting that two of our top charities do not meet the Better Business Bureau (BBB)’s 20 standards for charity accountability. We believe that both of these organizations are reputable, accountable, and excellent, and were surprised to hear this. After checking out… Read More

Quick notes on our progress

A few updates for people interested in the nuts and bolts of GiveWell’s progress (some of these have been included in our email updates, but not yet flagged on our blog): We’ve recently (this week) updated our research agenda – see the updated agenda here. The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation awarded us $100,000 for… Read More

Beware just-published studies

A recent study on health care in Ghana has been making the rounds – first on Megan McArdle’s blog and then on Marginal Revolution and Overcoming Bias. McArdle says the study shows “little relationship between consumption and health outcomes”; the other two title their posts “The marginal value of health care in Ghana: is it… Read More