I’d agree that you would have to assume that your project is 4x more efficient on the marginal dollar. However, I think this actually is the case for many of the things Open Phil funds. This could be much less the case in the animals space, but it definitely seems to be the case in the x-risk space, where there are relatively few groups in the space. My impression is that the current thinking is that groups below some “threshold” are expected to be neutral or actually net-negative, and very few groups are safely above that threshold (in the x-risk space.)
Open Phil has access to a lot of money; I’m quite sure they could safely spend a lot more than they currently do and be fine.
Another point: living in the bay is pretty expensive and is becoming more so. I don’t see any solutions to this on the horizon. Having a bunch of people all live & work here seems pretty efficient, at least until internet communication becomes a decent amount better.
Rent + taxes + health expenses (gym memberships, healthy food), etc, can add up pretty quickly.
I think living in an EA city is one of the strongest cases for spending more money in terms of increasing impact per $ spent. I think it’s the more marginal stuff I am generally careful about (e.g. eating at restaurants).