The GiveWell Blog

Chess in the Schools

The New York Times recently profiled Chess in the Schools: The Chess-in-the-Schools program has sought to foster analytical skills on the theory that these will help students succeed academically. The group teaches 20,000 children a year and calculates that it has taught 425,000 children since 1986. Children gather to learn the game at the group’s… Read More

Agriculture charity evaluation: Incomes boosted are not the same as lives changed

What’s wrong with this “evidence of impact” for high-profile charities? The Millennium Villages project‘s main evidence of impact so far appears to be increasing crop yields by a factor of 4-15x in 3 villages. (H/T to the recent coverage of Millennium Villages on Aid Watch) A KickStart evaluation (available on our website (DOC)) reports that… Read More

Microfinance evidence of impact

David Roodman posts a review of recent high-quality studies of microfinance. Note that prior to these fairly recent studies, most impact studies in this area had serious flaws, as Mr. Roodman notes and as we argue in our year-old review of this area. The studies Mr. Roodman discusses are randomized controlled trials, and so their… Read More

Development experiments (randomized controlled trials) as a counterpoint to marketing materials

There’s been a minor flurry of recent blog posts about randomized controlled trials (RCTs) in international aid, including William Easterly’s take and responses by Chris Blattman and GiveWell Board member Tim Ogden. A central theme has been the difficulty of generalizing from one experiment to whether something “works in general.” There seems to be a… Read More

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