We propose the wellbeing-adjusted life year (WELLBY), the SWB equivalent of the DALY or QALY, as the obvious framework to do cost-effectiveness analyses of non-health, non-pecuniary benefits. As our previous work has shown, using WELLBYs can change funding priorities by giving more weight to improving mental health, compared to DALYs or income measures; and they may reveal different priorities in other areas too.
We provide four recommendations to improve the clarity and transparency of GiveWell’s cost-effectiveness analyses. These are to (1) publicly explain and defend their assumptions about the effect of deworming over time; (2) explain their cost-effectiveness analyses in writing; (3) illustrate the sensitivity of their results to key parameters; (4) make it clear when an estimate is subjective or evidence-based.
This post is a philosophical review of Open Philanthropy’s Global Health and Wellbeing Cause Prioritisation Framework, the method they use to compare the value of different outcomes. In practice, the framework focuses on the relative value of just two outcomes, increasing income and adding years of life.
Progress Studies has been popularised by academics such as Tyler Cowen and Steven Pinker. However, the Easterlin Paradox presents a real challenge to the claim that if we want more progress, we just need to improve the long-run growth rate - a view that Cowen argues for in his book Stubborn Attachments.
We update our previous analysis to incorporate the household spillover effects for cash transfers and psychotherapy. We estimate that psychotherapy is 9 times (95% CI: 2, 100) more cost-effective than cash transfers. The charity StrongMinds is estimated to be 9 times (95% CI: 1, 90) more cost-effective than the charity GiveDirectly.
Drawing on evidence from over 80 studies and over 140,000 participants, we compare the cost-effectiveness of cash transfers and psychotherapy by estimating their effect on the recipient's subjective wellbeing and affective mental health.
This report explains how we determined the cost-effectiveness of cash transfers using subjective wellbeing and affective mental health.
This report explains how we determined the cost-effectiveness of group or task-shifted psychotherapy in low- and middle-income countries using subjective wellbeing and affective mental health.
This report explains how we determined the cost-effectiveness of StrongMinds using subjective wellbeing and affective mental health.
This report investigates the global burden of mental illness. It sets out how big the problem is, how much spending it receives, and how those resources are allocated. It then focuses specifically on what can be done to reduce anxiety and depression in low-income countries.
There are long-standing doubts about whether data from subjective scales are cardinally comparable—should we, for instance, believe that if two people self-report their happiness as '7/10' then they are as happy as each other? It is unclear how to assess whether these doubts are justified without first addressing two unresolved theoretical questions: how do people interpret subjective scales, and which assumptions are required for cardinal comparability? This working paper offers answers to both.
Millions suffer excruciating pain. Millions more suffer moderate or severe pain. They suffer despite the fact that cheap and effective treatments exist. This report briefly discusses the measurement of pain then explores three major causes of pain and what might be done to relieve them.
This short article summarises what philosophers do (and don't) mean by the term "wellbeing". It introduces the three main rival accounts of what wellbeing is and considers their theoretical strengths and weaknesses.
We show how Wellbeing-Adjusted Life Years (WELLBYs) can be used to estimate the value of different outcomes. We then estimate the values of two key inputs in GiveWell’s analysis: doubling consumption for one person for one year and averting the death of a child under 5 years old.
This working paper makes three main claims: 1) life satisfaction theories are indistinguishable from global desire theories; 2) these theories are the only subjectivist accounts of wellbeing; and 3) subjectivism is implausible, although for different reasons from those that are usually given.
In his DPhil thesis, Michael Plant critiques and develops claims about how individuals can do the most good including discussion of the value of saving lives, how best to improve lives, and cause prioritisation methodology.
This article gives a brief introduction to the measurement of wellbeing and how to compare the impact of various outcomes, such as improving health or reducing poverty.