Candidate Scoring System, Third Release

post by kbog · 2019-04-02T06:33:55.802Z · EA · GW · 8 comments


  Summary for Voters and Activists

Link to PDF report

Link to Excel model


The Candidate Scoring System (CSS) is a method for selecting preferred candidates in elections. It is based on Effective Altruist (EA) ethics and methodology. Of course, opposing political positions are still valid in the EA movement and there is room for respectable disagreement. Other people in the EA movement may have different understandings of the factual impacts of various political actions, and they may have different values regarding the appropriate goals of government. But we approach the central, most important policy question – how to maximize global well-being – by gathering opinions and research from authorities in a wide range of domains, then modeling them together with our own careful judgment to fill in the gaps.

CSS1 [EA · GW] was released on March 5, 2019, establishing basic policy preferences and providing tentative scoring of presidential candidates. CSS2 [EA · GW] was released on March 18 with deepened analysis of policy questions, more information about political candidates, more candidates under consideration, calculations of election probabilities and counterfactuals, and simplification into a single report with an accompanying Excel model. CSS3 contains a variety of minor improvements, including the addition of an “EA Lite” profile for people who want a restricted evaluation of candidates’ views on common EA issues.

The conclusions have remained mostly similar throughout this process, so we intend to stop working on CSS as further improvements seem unlikely to change the conclusions. It may be beneficial for someone else to take the lead in producing CSS4 in case a change of perspective could illuminate new issues. Otherwise, we are just going to wait until major new developments suggest a need for revisions.

This project is limited by the constraints of time and manpower against the vast breadth, depth and complexity of the problems that it tackles. Therefore, many arguments and evidence will be missing. This does not mean the project is necessarily wrong or biased, it just means we haven’t yet included as much content and research as we would like to. It is a work in progress and open to input from others. We are uncertain about much of this content, but we minimize hedging language for the sake of readability. If some relevant information is missing, please submit ideas and content to improve the next version – everything here is subject to revision and elaboration.

CSS is an independent volunteer project. Thanks to all who have helped.

Summary for Voters and Activists

CSS3 makes the following recommendations:

Our recommendations are based on estimates of the expected value of changing the outcomes of the primary races. We approach this question by first estimating the desirability of each candidate as a potential president, yielding presidency scores. We then factor in the nomination and election chances of all their competitors to produce nomination scores representing the difference in the expected election outcome based on whether the candidate wins or loses in the primaries.


Comments sorted by top scores.

comment by MaxGhenis · 2019-04-07T15:26:23.365Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Donate to Delaney here:

He'll also give $2 to a nonprofit for each donation he gets (none of the options are EA charities).

Replies from: kbog
comment by kbog · 2019-04-07T17:23:12.077Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

I gave $1 to him, but does anyone else think this is kinda messed up? Like, he's giving money to get people to help him qualify. It's kind of un-democratic.

comment by MaxGhenis · 2019-04-30T20:39:36.984Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Someone asked how Hillary Clinton would have fared. Might be a lot of work but she and Obama would make interesting benchmarks.

Replies from: kbog
comment by kbog · 2019-04-30T23:42:42.635Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

I didn't want to keep posting each revision here because it felt like filling up the forum. I did CSS4 and it has Clinton, because it seemed vaguely possible that she might enter this race. I should have commented it here though.!At2KcPiXB5rkvRQycEqvwFPVYKHa!At2KcPiXB5rkvRJGwOIYZ6dJeSEx

Not including Obama; if I evaluate people who aren't potential candidates then I think I'd like to do a lot of them at a time, perhaps as a separate project.

Replies from: haven
comment by haven · 2019-08-25T16:39:34.488Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Thanks for this awesome tool! The links here are bringing me to a "This item might not exist or is no longer available" page. Is there a newer version published?

Replies from: kbog
comment by kbog · 2019-11-12T08:49:40.679Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Yes, I am killing old files and now have just have a permanent link to the newest version. Sorry for the confusion. See here: [EA · GW]

comment by MaxGhenis · 2019-04-17T16:55:04.498Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Would be good to have Bill Weld in a subsequent revision.

Replies from: kbog
comment by kbog · 2019-04-17T18:29:55.577Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

He will be in it.