We present a pilot of 50 survey questions we intended to use to assess questions of comparability, linearity, and neutrality in subjective wellbeing measurements.
The elephant in the bednet: the importance of philosophy when choosing between extending and improving lives
How should we compare the value of extending lives to improving lives? Doing so requires us to make various philosophical assumptions, either implicitly or explicitly. But these choices are rarely acknowledged or discussed by decision-makers, all of them are controversial, and they have significant implications for how resources should be distributed.
By: Michael Plant, Joel McGuire and Samuel Dupret
Given the current state of our moral knowledge, it is entirely reasonable to be uncertain about a wide range of moral issues. This paper considers the suggestion that appropriateness under moral uncertainty is a matter of dividing one’s resources between the moral theories in which one has credence, allowing each theory to use its resources as it sees fit.
By: Harry R. Lloyd
We propose the wellbeing-adjusted life year (WELLBY), the wellbeing equivalent of the DALY or QALY, as the obvious framework to do cost-effectiveness analyses of non-health, non-pecuniary benefits.
By: Joel McGuire, Samuel Dupret and Michael Plant
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.
This post explores and evaluates an internal bargaining approach to moral uncertainty. On this account, the appropriate decision under moral uncertainty is the one that would be reached as the result of negotiations between agents representing the interests of each moral theory, who are awarded resources in proportion to your credence in that theory.
This report explains the common mistakes we make when predicting the intensity and duration of our own and others’ feelings and the implications this has for global priorities research.
By: Matthew Coleman
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.
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.
By: Fin Moorhouse, Michael Plant and Tom Houlden
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.
By: Clare Donaldson, Joel McGuire and Michael Plant
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.