The GiveWell Blog

How we evaluate a study

We previously wrote about our general principles for assessing evidence, where “evidence” is construed broadly (it may include awards/recognition/reputation, testimony, and broad trends in data as well as formal studies). Here we discuss our approach to a particular kind of evidence, what we call “micro data”: formal studies of the impact of a program on… Read More

Our principles for assessing evidence

For several years now we’ve been writing up our thoughts on the evidence behind particular charities and programs, but we haven’t written a great deal about the general principles we follow in distinguishing between strong and weak evidence. This post will Lay out the general properties that we think make for strong evidence: relevant reported… Read More

Quick update: New way to follow GiveWell’s research progress

There are two types of materials we publish periodically throughout the year: We frequently speak with charity representatives or other subject matter experts. We ask permission to take notes during these conversations so that we can publish them to our conversations page. We publish new charity review or intervention report pages. We’ve set up a… Read More

Revisiting the 2011 Japan disaster relief effort

Last year, Japan was hit by a severe earthquake and tsunami, and we recommended giving to Doctors Without Borders specifically because it was not soliciting funds for Japan. We reasoned that the relief effort did not appear to have room for more funding – i.e., we believed that additional funding would not lead to a… Read More

Recent conversation with Bill Easterly

We recently sat down for a conversation with Bill Easterly, on the subject of how to improve the value-added of academic research. Prof. Easterly posted highlights from our public notes from the conversation; we thought we’d share our thoughts on his views. Points of agreement: we believe we agree with Prof. Easterly on many core… Read More

GiveWell’s issues log: VillageReach analysis

Recently, we’ve been reflecting on and evaluating our past analysis of VillageReach. We’ve undertaken this analysis and published what we’ve learned because we feel that our process performed suboptimally, and careful consideration of what caused this may lead to improvement on our part. Broadly, we categorize the problems below as “questions we could have asked… Read More