Thanks for your post. I would love to get in touch and compare notes on research for advising donors. I’ll try to reach you via this site’s messaging.
Sorry for the very late reply (I don’t get alerts when someone posts here). I believe the difference comes simply from the wide range of cost effectiveness of education interventions. As mentioned in the Google doc, “Rachel Glennerster mentions in an 80000 Hours podcast that good interventions typically deliver at least 1 learning adjusted year of schooling (LAYS) per 100 USD spent, with some interventions delivering about 10-30 LAYS per 100 USD, and the best delivering up to 460 LAYS per 100 USD.”
For Pratham, the info I found suggested roughly 1.7 to 27.6 extra years per 100 USD. Assuming an increase in income of 8.8% for each extra year of schooling, this means an increase in income of about 15% to 243% per 100 USD donated. Comparing to DDK 2017, GiveWell cites a 24% increase in income for 541$ spent, so 4.4% increase in income per 100$ spent.
I don’t know if this helps? I think the basic explanation is that there is a very wide range in effectiveness of education interventions, and that Pratham seems to be higher in this range than DDK, say.
Yes, you can check out this webpage: https://www.givewell.org/international/technical/programs/education
Here’s a relevant excerpt:
″ Evidence of effect on outcomes (such as income, health, or social outcomes) rather than outputs (such as increased time in school or improved test scores). There are a number of variables that can be used to measure the effects of education interventions, and we place significantly more emphasis on the effects on some variables than others. We distinguish between ‘outputs’ of education interventions, namely whether they increase time in school or student learning (measured by test scores),3 and the effect of education interventions on people’s life ‘outcomes’, including employment, earnings, health outcomes, fertility, and marriage. We do not place much intrinsic value on increasing time in school or test scores, although we think that such improvements may have instrumental value.4 The majority of experimental studies of the effects of education interventions focus on the effects on time in school and test scores. However, we place far more emphasis on a few recent studies that estimate the effects of education programs on life outcomes, such as earnings and rates of fertility and marriage among young women and girls.”
I hadn’t seen it. Will definitely check it out. Thanks Saulius!
We’re planning to look into early childhood interventions (including things like deworming, improved nutrition, etc.) separately. Having said that, we had put deworming aside since it’s basically presented by GiveWell as “low probability of high impact” which didn’t appeal to the donors. But as you say, we should review what the evidence is in terms of education impact. I’ll add that to my to do list.
Thanks Aidan, Aaron and Khorton for your comments—much appreciated!
I definitely agree that GiveWell does excellent work, and we are indeed thinking of including a GiveWell charity (or more) in our final recommendation to the donors, which will probably include a few charities rather than just one. As Aidan mentioned, GiveDirectly seems like it might be the best fit with the donors’ criteria, among GiveWell’s top charities (some of their standout charities might also be a good fit).
Regarding education interventions, GiveWell did not have any recommendations, so using their recommendations was not an option. We could have recommended against donating in this sector based on GiveWell’s review, but we didn’t do that primarily because the donors assign intrinsic value to better education, while GiveWell does not (so here it’s more a question of values rather than expertise).
I’ve just posted today about a review that was performed by a member of Effective Altruism Québec on education interventions and charities in Sub-Saharan Africa. The review is here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1-JzmsKJFHPq3j1vAypy8yZM7NbGRco6e_S5con3TOTI/edit?usp=sharing
Thought I would let you know in case it’s relevant for the Priority Wiki.
Thanks Naryan for starting this interesting discussion! My own two cents:
-I attended a presentation organized by Valeurs Mobilières Desjardins about two years back on socially responsible investing (SRI). The upshot was that the research on this indicates that SRI investments perform comparably (neither better nor worse) to non-SRI investments in general. Assuming this applies to impact investment, and that the vast majority of EAs will invest part of the money they earn, it seems to me that as long as there are any positive social impacts from SRI and impact investment, these should be the default mode of investment of EAs, all else being equal… If so, this seems well worth discussing.
-I didn’t fully get the distinction you make between SRI and impact investment. For instance, I’m part of the Ethical Investment Group http://www.gie-eig.ca in Montreal. We’ve long been investing in individual companies we think of as having beneficial impact, as well as in community loans, etc (some of which are listed in the links you gave). I always thought of this as ethical or socially responsible investment. Which would you say it is?