The GiveWell Blog

History of philanthropy case study: The impact of philanthropy on the passage of the Affordable Care Act

Benjamin Soskis, who has been working for us on our history of philanthropy project, has completed a case study of philanthropy’s impact on the 2010 passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The case study focuses first on the Atlantic Philanthropies’ funding of Health Care for America Now! (HCAN), as well as on HCAN’s activities… Read More

Coming down to earth: What if a big geomagnetic storm does hit?

This is the fourth post in a series about geomagnetic storms as a global catastrophic risk. A paper covering the material in this series was recently released. I devoted the first three posts in this series to describing geomagnetic storms and assessing the odds that a Big One is coming. I concluded that the iconic Carrington… Read More

The long-term significance of reducing global catastrophic risks

Note: this post aims to help a particular subset of our audience understand the assumptions behind our work on global catastrophic risks. One focus area for the Open Philanthropy Project is reducing global catastrophic risks (such as from pandemics, potential risks from advanced artificial intelligence, geoengineering, and geomagnetic storms). A major reason that the Open… Read More

Could raising alcohol taxes save lives?

I’ve just posted a review on the effects of alcohol taxes on alcohol consumption—and on the lives that alcohol abuse can cost. This literature review is unusual in the degree to which it replicates the studies it examines, so I have called it a “replication review.” Data, code, and spreadsheets are here. The literature on… Read More

Key questions about philanthropy, part 3: Making and evaluating grants

This post is third in a series on fundamental (and under-discussed) questions about philanthropy that we’ve grappled with in starting a grantmaking organization (see previous link for the series intro, and this link for the second installment). This post covers the following questions: When making a grant, should we focus most on evaluating the strategy/intervention,… Read More