Comparing psychotherapy and cash transfers in terms of subjective well-being
We’ve just published new analysis comparing the cost-effectiveness of cash transfers and psychotherapy in low-income countries in terms of subjective well-being. Our key finding is that the average psychotherapy intervention in our dataset is 12 times more cost-effective than the average cash transfer.
We used this wider evidence base to estimate the cost-effectiveness of two charities that are highly effective at implementing each type of intervention: GiveDirectly (cash transfers) and StrongMinds (psychotherapy).
When we repeated the analysis for these specific charities, we also found that StrongMinds is 12 times more cost-effective than GiveDirectly. This puts it on a par with the top deworming charities recommended by GiveWell.
Plans for future research
Of course, there are many more interventions and organisations we need to analyse before a fuller picture begins to emerge. Our research is still at an early stage, and we hope to find even more cost-effective charities in the future.
Our research pipeline includes a range of other promising interventions:
- Friendship Bench
- Mental health apps
- Cataract surgery
- Cement flooring
- Drug liberalisation (including better access to opioids and psychedelics)
- Advocacy to integrate well-being metrics into policy-making and to make employee well-being a central indicator of ESG performance
However, we cannot do this without financial support and we are actively seeking new donors to fund our future research.
Our team continues to grow
We’re delighted to welcome four new members to the team.
Samuel Dupret will be working with Joel to conduct cost-effectiveness analyses of a wide-range of promising interventions. He has a Masters in Cognitive and Decision Sciences from University College London, gaining a distinction.
Joy Bitner has worked in operations for small non-profits in Latin America for over 13 years. Besides her work with HLI, Joy is also setting up a program to provide mental health services to low-income populations in South America.
Barry Grimes has provided communications support to HLI since our formation. We’re delighted to welcome him to the team as a full employee. He brings over 10 years of experience working in communications.
What we’ve been reading
The Science of Wellbeing: Causes, Consequences, and Policies
Michael and Caspar joined other leading well-being researchers at a two-day workshop to discuss the first-ever textbook on the science of well-being. The textbook is co-authored by Prof Jan-Emmanuel De Neve and Prof Lord Richard Layard and will be published by Cambridge University Press in 2022.
A Handbook for Wellbeing Policy-Making
The Handbook for Wellbeing Policy-Making makes the case for wellbeing as the goal of government. It shows how well-being measures and knowledge can improve what the public sector does, but it is also a read for everybody who enjoys thinking about the reality of policy-making. Shortly after the launch, the UK Government published new guidance setting out how the growing body of wellbeing evidence should be incorporated in the policy process.
Towards a Nordic Wellbeing Economy
The concept of a ‘Wellbeing Economy’ is increasingly being implemented by governments all over the world with New Zealand’s Wellbeing Budget perhaps the most prominent example. But what is a Wellbeing Economy in essence? What different forms can it take? How does it function in practice? And what are its benefits and drawbacks?