The GiveWell Blog

Refining the goals of GiveWell Labs

[Added August 27, 2014: GiveWell Labs is now known as the Open Philanthropy Project.] To date, our work on GiveWell Labs has been highly exploratory and preliminary, but we’ve recently been refining our picture of what we expect our output to look like in the reasonably near (~1 year) future. Our plans are still tentative,… Read More

Possible global catastrophic risks

I previously discussed our view that in general, further economic development and general human empowerment are likely to be substantially net positive, and are likely to lead to improvement on many dimensions in unexpected ways. In my view, the most worrying counterpoint to this view is the possibility of global catastrophic risks. Broadly speaking, while… Read More

Flow-through effects

As mentioned previously, we believe that further economic development, and general human empowerment, is likely to be substantially net positive, and that it is likely to lead to improvement on many dimensions in unexpected ways. This post elaborates on the reasons we hold this view and the implications of it. We haven’t done nearly as… Read More

Update on GiveWell’s web traffic / money moved: Q1 2013

In addition to evaluations of other charities, GiveWell publishes substantial evaluation on itself, from the quality of its research to its impact on donations. We publish quarterly updates regarding two key metrics: (a) donations to top charities and (b) web traffic. The table and chart below present basic information about our growth in money moved… Read More

Unorthodox Prize

A couple of years ago, an anonymous family foundation launched a call for “extraordinary and unorthodox” philanthropic opportunities. We wrote critically about this at the time, but the winner of the contest turned out to be GiveDirectly (currently our #2 charity), which received its initial funding from the contest. We’ve since had some interactions with… Read More

Broad market efficiency

It’s common to debate how “efficient” financial markets are. Broadly speaking, an “efficient” market is one in which the participants are quick to spot profit-making opportunities, so that prices quickly adjust to reflect available information and it’s very difficult for an outsider to “beat the market,” i.e., consistently earn outsized returns. (If one is interested… Read More