What it takes to evaluate impact

When someone asks me what makes GiveWell different from other third-party charity evaluators, I often answer by listing all the things we’ve done in order to investigate our current top-rated charity, VillageReach. We’ve done extensive background research on international aid and argued for key takeaways such as the overall promise of international aid for donors,…

In defense of the streetlight effect

In a recent guest post for Development Impact, Martin Ravallion writes: The current fashion [for evaluating aid projects] is for randomized control trials (RCTs) and social experiments more generally … The problem is that the interventions for which currently favored methods are feasible constitute a non-random subset of the things that are done by donors…