The GiveWell Blog

Followup on Fryer/Dobbie study of “Harlem miracle”

I recently posted about a new, intriguing study on the Harlem Children’s Zone. It’s now been a little over a week since David Brooks’s op-ed brought the study some major attention, and I’ve been keeping up with the reaction of other blogs. Here’s a summary: Methodology: unusually strong I haven’t seen any major complaints about… Read More

“Did it happen?” and “did it work?”

You donate some money to a charity in the hopes that it will (a) carry out a project that (b) improves people’s lives. In order to feel confident in your donation, you should feel confident in both of these. In most areas of charity, we feel that people overfocus on “did it happen?” relative to… Read More

Funding research

At some point we’d like to investigate the idea of donating to research projects. Non-profit-motivated research is credited with many large and meaningful successes, both in medical areas (most recently, the development of a rotavirus vaccine) and in other areas (most notably, the Green Revolution). There are serious concerns when donating in this area. For… Read More

Two worlds

Why are people so excited about one study of one charter school showing improved performance on math tests? (Our coverage of the study here). It’s because in academic circles, improving academic performance is seen as an extremely thorny problem with a very long list of past failures. (See pages 1-2 of the paper for an… Read More

Where I stand on education, my former favorite cause

Education used to be my favorite cause. My enthusiasm waned as I saw both the cost-effectiveness of international aid and the apparent futility of education. (Elie’s 2007 post captures many of my thoughts.) The study that I’ve been blogging about today (here and here) provides a firmer grounding for our optimism about high-intensity charter schools,… Read More

Fryer and Dobbie on the Harlem Children’s Zone: Significance

My last post summarized a very recent paper by Fryer and Dobbie, finding large gains for charter school students in the Harlem Children’s Zone. (You can get the study here (PDF)). I believe that this paper is an unusually important one, for reasons that the paper itself lays out very well in the first couple… Read More