Universal cost-effectiveness calculator

Oc­to­ber 20 up­date:

Im­ple­ment­ing re­cent feed­back, I am high­light­ing the for­mula used:

A: Unit of the pro­gram’s outcome

B: Num­ber of units that the pro­gram provided

C: What % of units would have been pro­vided even with­out the pro­gram? (% es­ti­mate of the coun­ter­fac­tual)

D: What has to be sac­ri­ficed and by whom to provide one unit of out­come? (op­por­tu­nity cost per unit out­come)

E: Pro­gram cost

Coun­ter­fac­tual cost-effec­tive­ness:

E/​[(1-C)×B]-D, in words:

{Pro­gram cost/​[(100% - coun­ter­fac­tual %) × # of units pro­vided]}-op­por­tu­nity cost.

The units are [cur­rency] per [unit of out­come] - [value] per [unit of out­come].

If the op­por­tu­nity cost value is ex­pressed in mon­e­tary terms of the same cur­rency as the pro­gram cost, the units are [cur­rency] per [unit of out­come].

Summary

I made a draft of a uni­ver­sal cost-effec­tive­ness calcu­la­tor. It should calcu­late the coun­ter­fac­tual cost-effec­tive­ness of any pro­ject, us­ing val­ues of any cer­tainty (from past pro­gram and non-in­ter­ven­tion data to the es­ti­mates of emerg­ing pro­ject in­no­va­tors. The idea is to make an on­line ver­sion that can record en­tries and re­fer users to re­sources that can in­crease their pro­ject effec­tive­ness. In this way, 1) any­one will have ac­cess to data on the po­ten­tial cost-effec­tive­ness of pro­jects that seek differ­ent out­comes. This can ex­pe­d­ite in­no­va­tion of the EA sys­tem. 2) De­ci­sion­mak­ers will be more likely to en­gage with EA, as they would di­rectly benefit from the re­sources on im­prov­ing their pro­ject cost-effec­tive­ness.

I will much ap­pre­ci­ate any feed­back. Please also let me know if you would be in­ter­ested in work­ing with me on this pro­ject (esp. ad­vis­ing and cod­ing) – if the com­mu­nity con­sid­ers the pro­ject use­ful.

Calcu­la­tor fields with sam­ple answers

Note: Low es­ti­mates are always the low­est val­ues that you be­lieve are rea­son­ably pos­si­ble; high es­ti­mates high­est val­ues that you be­lieve are rea­son­ably pos­si­ble.

Please provide an­swers in the yel­low high­lighted fields.

Gen­eral information

What out­puts does your or­ga­ni­za­tion provide?

Out­puts are any­thing that is used as means to achieve the in­tended re­sults. Ex­am­ples of out­puts in­clude clinic con­sul­ta­tions (used as means to im­prove health) and text­books (used as means to im­prove learn­ing out­comes). Th­ese are just ex­am­ples. Any out­puts are con­sid­ered.

Tak­ing chil­dren to school

What out­comes does your or­ga­ni­za­tion aim for?

Out­comes are the end goals of pro­grams. Ex­am­ples of out­comes in­clude im­proved health and any learn­ing out­comes (e. g. im­proved test scores). Th­ese are just ex­am­ples. Any out­comes are con­sid­ered.

Attendance

What unit of out­come will be con­sid­ered in this calcu­la­tion?

This has to be a quan­tifi­able mea­sure and will be the refer­ence unit value used any­where else in this calcu­la­tor. For ex­am­ple, you may be look­ing at 1 qual­ity-ad­justed life year pro­vided (to quan­tify a health out­come) or a 1 point im­prove­ment of a test score (to quan­tify a learn­ing out­come).

One year of schooling

Has your pro­gram already started?

Yes

Com­ments on gen­eral in­for­ma­tion (op­tional)

Out­come estimates

What time pe­riod dur­ing which a pro­gram ran/​is pro­posed to run will be con­sid­ered in this calcu­la­tion?

Num­ber 1 Unit Year

How many units of out­come were/​should be achieved with your pro­gram in place dur­ing the above speci­fied time pe­riod (best es­ti­mate)?

1000 × One year of schooling

ditto low estimate

ditto high estimate

How did you ar­rive at the above 3 es­ti­mates of units of out­come pro­vided? (e. g. pro­gram co­or­di­na­tor es­ti­mate, av­er­age of some num­ber of col­leagues, link to calcu­la­tions work­book, liter­a­ture links,...)

Pro­ject re­ports: 1000 chil­dren were taken to school by our vol­un­teers in 2019, for the en­tire school year.

What % of out­come would the in­tended benefi­cia­ries achieve even with­out the pro­gram (best es­ti­mate)?

For ex­am­ple, the benefi­cia­ries may pur­chase an out­put to achieve the same out­come them­selves, an­other or­ga­ni­za­tion may run pro­gram­ming to provide the out­come, or the out­come may hap­pen any­way, ‘by it­self.’

Speci­fi­cally, for ex­am­ple, the benefi­cia­ries would have ac­quired 80% of the qual­ity-ad­justed life years be­cause they would have trav­eled to a paid health­care fa­cil­ity (even with­out a pro­gram that pro­vides free health­care in lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties). Or, stu­dents would achieve 20% in­crease in their test scores any­way (for ev­ery 5 point in­crease with the pro­gram, 1 point would have hap­pened any­way), even with­out the pro­gram, as they progress in their learn­ing.

5%

ditto low estimate

ditto high estimate

How did you ar­rive at the above 3 es­ti­mates of % of out­come that the in­tended benefi­cia­ries would achieve even with­out the pro­gram? (e. g. pro­gram co­or­di­na­tor es­ti­mate, av­er­age of some num­ber of col­leagues, link to calcu­la­tions work­book, liter­a­ture links,...)

There is no one else to take the chil­dren to school. In villages where we do not op­er­ate, maybe only 5% of the chil­dren that our pro­gram would tar­get would go to school. This is an or­ga­ni­za­tion em­ployee es­ti­mate.

Com­ments on out­come es­ti­mates (op­tional)

Op­por­tu­nity cost estimates

If some­one else must work to achieve one unit of out­put if your or­ga­ni­za­tion does not run the pro­ject, who is it what do they sac­ri­fice (best es­ti­mate)?

For ex­am­ple, if one must travel to a paid health­care fa­cil­ity that is far away, for one qual­ity-ad­justed life year, they would sac­ri­fice 4 USD in busi­ness earn­ings, 3 USD in travel ex­penses, and 10 USD in treat­ment ex­penses, so to­tal of 17 USD. Another ex­am­ple is that if a vol­un­teer gives their old text­books that they would not sell to a child that achieves 1 point in­crease in test scores, then the vol­un­teer sac­ri­fices noth­ing. Please spec­ify what is sac­ri­ficed in or­der to provide one unit of out­come and who sac­ri­fices it.

The vol­un­teers who take the chil­dren to school sac­ri­fice noth­ing; they do it in their free time.

ditto low estimate

ditto high estimate

How much did the pro­gram cost/​is pro­posed to cost for the time pe­riod speci­fied in the “Out­come es­ti­mates” sec­tion above?

Num­ber 875000 Cur­rency unit INR

What is the USD/​your cur­rency ex­change rate?

How many of your cur­rency units pur­chase 1 US dol­lar?

72.96 INR pur­chase 1 USD.

Com­ments on op­por­tu­nity cost es­ti­mates (op­tional)

Results

The di­rect cost-effec­tive­ness of your pro­gram is:

875 INR per One year of schooling

11.99 USD per One year of schooling

The coun­ter­fac­tual cost-effec­tive­ness of your pro­gram is:

Coun­ter­fac­tual: con­sid­er­ing what would have hap­pened even with­out the pro­gram.

921.05 INR per One year of school­ing but The vol­un­teers who take the chil­dren to school sac­ri­fice noth­ing; they do it in their free time.

12.62 USD per One year of school­ing but The vol­un­teers who take the chil­dren to school sac­ri­fice noth­ing; they do it in their free time.

See how you com­pare to other pro­grams:

The Life You Can Save Calcu­late Your Impact

What else can be added?

Do you think that the cost-effec­tive­ness of your pro­gram is com­pet­i­tive?

Please share your re­sults with us (link).

Like these cost-effec­tive­ness calcu­la­tions?

Work with us (link to more in­for­ma­tion on cost-effec­tive­ness)

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