The GiveWell Blog

KIPP and self-selection

The Knowledge is Power Program is one of our current recommended charities, but I think that Sarah Mosle’s critique in Slate is very much worth keeping in mind. Mosle writes: While KIPP does have outreach efforts to broaden its applicant pool, only the most determined parents are likely to respond to … sign KIPP’s demanding… Read More

Mistargeted microfinance?

There are many studies attempting to gauge microloans’ impact on borrowers, but most suffer from the problem of selection bias: by comparing participants and non-participants, they may be picking up other differences between these groups (for example, people who participate in microloan programs may be wealthier to begin with, so a study showing that they… Read More

PRI and Bloggingheads

A couple of recent web/media appearances: Last week I appeared briefly on PRI’s The World – link here. A recent Bloggingheads between Tyler Cowen and Peter Singer includes an interesting exchange about charity effectiveness including the advantages of GiveWell’s approach, the limits of the “overhead expense ratio,” and Prof. Cowen’s preferred alternative of sending money… Read More

Can the Green Revolution be repeated in Africa?

In his Annual Letter, Bill Gates describes the “Green Revolution”: Almost every country that has become wealthy started with a huge increase in farming productivity. Chart 4 shows the increase in output per acre for various grains, including wheat, corn, and rice, in the United States, India, China, and Africa since 1961. This dramatic increase… Read More

Measurement is not as common as it should be. Why?

The idea that there should be more measurement appears to be one of the points of widest agreement in the literature on aid. But we believe that agreement in principle is unlikely to mean much until donors (both large and small) act on it. It isn’t enough to request better information; we need to reserve… Read More