Posts

Lincoln Announces New Fellowship on Emerging Technologies 2021-10-01T05:28:06.526Z
What music do you find most inspires you to use your resources (effectively) to help others? 2020-11-21T13:54:35.910Z
So-Low Growth's Shortform 2020-08-03T11:39:11.119Z

Comments

Comment by So-Low Growth on Results of a survey of international development professors on EA · 2022-07-11T10:36:56.007Z · EA · GW

Isn't there a strong motivation for following-up with a conference introducing these professors to EA?

Comment by So-Low Growth on Potatoes: A Critical Review · 2022-07-01T01:16:24.030Z · EA · GW

Fwiw, I have a set of slides by a very high profile growth economist (top 10 in the world in terms of citations in growth) on why this paper may be incorrect. They have a theoretical model with testable empirical implications.

If anyone is interested in collaborating on this, I'd be potentially interested in having early chats.

Comment by So-Low Growth on Solving the replication crisis (FTX proposal) · 2022-04-27T20:49:29.244Z · EA · GW

Ah frustrating! I'm surprised Tyler didn't say yes, given your previous blog posts. 

Random thought - maybe it's worth applying to EAF/LTFF for replicating EA specific papers?

Comment by So-Low Growth on Solving the replication crisis (FTX proposal) · 2022-04-27T16:32:44.115Z · EA · GW

Michael, I love your work (blog). Other than FTX, have you tried other avenues for funding this?

Comment by So-Low Growth on Do we have any *lists* of 'academics/research groups relevant/adjacent to EA' ... and open science? · 2022-03-31T05:42:32.416Z · EA · GW

Nice suggestion - and good to see you here on the EAF Ryan!

Comment by So-Low Growth on Workshop for underrepresented groups in GPR - Intellectual and cultural diversity in GPR · 2022-03-30T05:39:04.871Z · EA · GW

Happy to see this initiative!

Comment by So-Low Growth on Paul Farmer (1959 – 2022) · 2022-03-24T15:47:54.600Z · EA · GW

These are great Gavin.

It's been a while since I worked on global development issues (largely focusing on NTDs back in 2014/15) but did Farmer not also help popularise the biosocial approach (which I thought had a large impact) ? No mention of 'biosocial' on the wiki page though.

Comment by So-Low Growth on Valuing research works by eliciting comparisons from EA researchers · 2022-03-24T03:46:11.785Z · EA · GW

Thanks Gavin!

Comment by So-Low Growth on Why randomized controlled trials matter · 2022-03-23T06:19:05.113Z · EA · GW

I think it's this paper http://evavivalt.com/wp-content/uploads/Weighing-the-Evidence.pdf. Fwiw, all of Eva's papers are worth reading!

Sidenote - love your work and WiP (I'm also part of the PS community). Hope to see you on the EAF again!

Comment by So-Low Growth on Why randomized controlled trials matter · 2022-03-22T16:03:44.655Z · EA · GW

Actually I could be incorrect. I think Eva Vivalt has a paper on this (no time to dig up right now).

Comment by So-Low Growth on Why randomized controlled trials matter · 2022-03-22T15:42:19.902Z · EA · GW

One indirect advantage of RCTs is that I'd guess (I'd imagine this has been tested somewhere) that they are easier to understand compared to other causal inference methods. Maybe that makes it easier to pitch to people who aren't trained in statistics (often policy makers).

Not sure of this though...

Comment by So-Low Growth on Valuing research works by eliciting comparisons from EA researchers · 2022-03-22T02:04:55.541Z · EA · GW

Fwiw, I'd imagine you are all less succumb to weighting other evaluators negative points (different interests at play to journal reviewers) - but still may be a bias here.

Peaked my curiosity, what sort of clever thing? 

Comment by So-Low Growth on Valuing research works by eliciting comparisons from EA researchers · 2022-03-21T15:07:39.685Z · EA · GW

The sharing of information can - sometimes - lead to more conservative funding due to people weighting other peoples' weak points greater than their strong points. See here for a really fascinating paper in the economics of science: https://pubsonline.informs.org/doi/pdf/10.1287/mnsc.2021.4107

Comment by So-Low Growth on What brand should EA buy? If we had to buy one. · 2022-02-07T19:15:09.897Z · EA · GW

I like the idea but then a potential counter-point would be we should just simple expand Oxford's GPI/FHI. Both of these are within Oxford, which adds a lot of prestige/credibility etc. 

Comment by So-Low Growth on What brand should EA buy? If we had to buy one. · 2022-02-07T19:11:20.277Z · EA · GW

I think the counter-point here is that currently EAs publish in more mainstream journals, allowing them to gain exposure to a wide audience. Having a niche EA journal (even if buying a popular one and changing it) may reduce the audience/respectability (i.e. considered fringe etc.). 

Comment by So-Low Growth on What brand should EA buy? If we had to buy one. · 2022-02-07T19:09:39.270Z · EA · GW

IIRC, OpenPhil are funding EAish academics to produce online courses. I think the old Peter Singer one on Coursera/EDx did pretty well.

Comment by So-Low Growth on Innovation Research Bootcamp for Econ PhD Students · 2022-01-05T16:17:12.166Z · EA · GW

Thanks for the quick response Kevin. Haha, so in my original question I was going to say 'with the exclusion of the work of Chad Jones', i.e. the intersection of growth theory and EA/longtermism, which seem quite clear to me.

I would be interested in hearing about the other presenters: (Ben) Jones, Azoulay, Williams, Reenen, etc.
 

Comment by So-Low Growth on Innovation Research Bootcamp for Econ PhD Students · 2022-01-05T01:10:19.785Z · EA · GW

What are the intersections between this and EA focused research? Would love to see some examples if you (or anyone else) has any.

Comment by So-Low Growth on A huge opportunity for impact: movement building at top universities · 2021-12-26T19:18:56.614Z · EA · GW

Yes. I think we can essentially nerd-snipe academics. Maybe get a bunch of social scientists and have a mini-conference about what other EA researchers are doing: say AI governance, forecasting, etc.

It gives them a network, an idea of what others are doing, and accelerated intro into EA.

Does seem like the ROI could be large.

Comment by So-Low Growth on A huge opportunity for impact: movement building at top universities · 2021-12-16T16:21:50.499Z · EA · GW

I think it's a cool idea. 

One thing that comes to mind that I have noticed is many academics aren't aware of EA but I think they would be on board. Many of these academics have time (often tenured), resources (to help EA students), and networks. I wonder if there's a way of targeting/appealing to this demographic.

Comment by So-Low Growth on I need help on choosing a research question · 2021-12-13T03:15:40.272Z · EA · GW

I'm pretty certain they'll get back to you soon. If not, send a follow-up email.

Comment by So-Low Growth on Wikipedia editing is important, tractable, and neglected · 2021-11-29T00:47:42.401Z · EA · GW

Was recently just complaining about this - great post.

Comment by So-Low Growth on Why Undergrads Should Take History Classes · 2021-11-07T21:58:25.342Z · EA · GW

I like the post but I'm not entirely convinced. Even if these are optional classes to pad your degree out, you'd have to think taking history classes adds more value than all other potential options. I don't entirely believe that's the case even if I agree with many of your points in the post.

Comment by So-Low Growth on You can talk to EA Funds before applying · 2021-10-01T00:22:48.724Z · EA · GW

Trying my luck here but would I also be able to get funds for academic projects (my research interests are in Metascience/Innovation/Growth)?

Comment by So-Low Growth on A Twitter Bot that regularly tweets current top posts from the EA Forum · 2021-07-25T23:00:45.141Z · EA · GW

That's the one! OP, I think some version of this is definitely worth implementing/revival. I often share various EA articles on my personal twitter feed, and I know people (for example Stefan Schubert) who share EA articles, which captures an audience (that find the content interesting/engaging) that do not always read the EAF regularly.

Comment by So-Low Growth on A Twitter Bot that regularly tweets current top posts from the EA Forum · 2021-07-25T19:19:56.288Z · EA · GW

I thought something like this already existed but I could be mistaken.

Comment by So-Low Growth on A ranked list of all EA-relevant documentaries, movies, and TV series I've watched · 2021-07-22T13:21:20.727Z · EA · GW

Will check some of these out. Not sure if this fits your criteria but a personal favourite is the documentary about Aaron Swartz.

Comment by So-Low Growth on Writing about my job: Internet Blogger · 2021-07-20T14:31:14.835Z · EA · GW

Thanks for this - one of my favourite blogs!

Few questions (not all directly related to the job, so feel free to skip all/any of them):

  1. How do you think blogging compares to other careers available to you in terms of impact?
  2. Why not set up a Patreon (I'm aware you've got some grants)?
  3. Why remain pseudonymous?
  4. Why the name ADS?
Comment by So-Low Growth on Making impact researchful · 2021-07-19T10:29:54.166Z · EA · GW

"For some projects, a small adjustment could unlock huge academic value." Would you be able to provide examples please?

Comment by So-Low Growth on Economics PhD application support - become a mentee! · 2021-07-13T09:53:45.497Z · EA · GW

Good idea! May be worth reaching out to the LSE Econ PhD programme (I see you're attending!), who trialled something similar last year for underrepresented backgrounds (in order to get some feedback on what applicants want).

I think a good addition to this would be providing help to people applying for pre-docs as well, given how important they have become in the profession.

Comment by So-Low Growth on Inbreeding and global health & development · 2021-07-13T09:44:30.130Z · EA · GW

I should have added the following statement. If anyone would like a quick chat about researching cousin marriage, feel free to message me.

Caveat: I'm still fairly new to the topic (there's a lot of non-econ literature) but can try to help wherever possible. 

Comment by So-Low Growth on Inbreeding and global health & development · 2021-07-11T13:59:39.516Z · EA · GW

I'm currently actively working on this in my PhD (I'm an Economist), which developed from one of my pre-PhD courses. I have a few different ideas and am currently applying for funding for them. Truthfully, this is not one of my core research interests but I think it's relatively fertile ground for research/publication and I have some nice co-authors that I'm working with, so I don't have to devote too much time to the topic. 

A few points:

  1. The negative biological effects seem to be severe where there is persistent cousin marriage. Otherwise it seems that  the impact may not be too bad.
  2. Often the social benefits of consanguinity outweigh the biological disadvantages, particularly in rural regions. For example, some studies seem to show a reduction in domestic violence, greater female autonomy, closer family relations, better retirement etc.
  3. Many of the existing studies are not particularly empirically sound. Lots of selection bias, poor stats, and questionable IVs.
  4. Schulz et al. suggest there's a link between reducing cousin marriage and democracy, which I find quite interesting (although some have critiqued this). There may also be a relationship between cousin marriage and lower long-run economic growth.
  5. There's some interesting work being done on potential interventions. For example, the link between education and cousin marriage and the link between a wealth shock and choice of spouse. My paper is proposing an intervention as well.
Comment by So-Low Growth on What should CEEALAR be called? · 2021-06-16T08:55:58.559Z · EA · GW

I strongly dislike this and think it gives off the wrong impression about the purpose of the Hotel.

Comment by So-Low Growth on A proposal for a small inducement prize platform · 2021-06-10T15:53:39.021Z · EA · GW

Briefly:

  1. I like the idea
  2. Think it will work
  3. Also like the idea of using Metaculus to forecast this
Comment by So-Low Growth on EA Twitter Job Bots and more · 2021-06-04T10:14:44.226Z · EA · GW

In Economics, there's an account that does this quite well, with a slightly different approach but a somewhat similar aim. It tweets economics pre-doc and RA positions. However, I think people tag the account, and then it gets re-tweeted. Here's the handle: https://twitter.com/econ_ra

Comment by So-Low Growth on Why you should give to a donor lottery this Giving Season · 2020-12-07T20:17:54.586Z · EA · GW

Does this help (from the FAQs? "The lottery is administered by the Centre for Effective Altruism (CEA). The Centre for Effective Altruism is a registered charity in England and Wales (Charity Number 1149828) and a registered 501(c)(3) Exempt Organization in the USA (EIN 47-1988398). An entry to the lottery is a donation to CEA; CEA will regrant the lottery money, based on the recommendation of the lottery winner.

All grants made are at CEA’s sole discretion. This is a condition of CEA’s status as a tax-deductible non-profit (both in the UK and the US). Of course, CEA will make a good faith effort to act on the recommendation of the winning donor, but it is important to understand that this does not constitute a binding contract, and the final decision rests with CEA.

There are cases where it may not be possible to follow the winner’s recommendation. In particular, CEA is limited to making grants within its charitable objects (and in the US, within the scope of what the IRS would deem an 'appropriate organization' to regrant to). Judgements about whether a potential grantee is within this scope will be made on a case-by-case basis by CEA. If CEA determines that it cannot follow a recommendation, the donor will be contacted to discuss and be given the opportunity to provide a revised recommendation.

Broadly speaking, CEA should be able to regrant to any fund or organization on listed on Effective Altruism Funds, as well as nearly all other registered non-profit organizations in the US, the UK, Australia, Canada, Europe, and possibly other jurisdictions (assuming their organizational purposes don’t contravene CEA’s charitable objects, and we can verify their non-profit status).

CEA may also be able to make grants to organizations that are not registered non-profits, or projects that are run by unincorporated individuals. These requests will be assessed on a case-by-case basis.

If you are unsure about whether a potential grantee would be eligible, please get in touch before entering the lottery to discuss (contact details below)."

Comment by So-Low Growth on Careers Questions Open Thread · 2020-12-06T20:29:30.789Z · EA · GW

I had an offer to do LSE's MSc Econometrics and Mathematical Economics, which is well known to place into top PhD programmes, and is incredibly competitive). However, I can't afford the £40k fees + living, coming from more humble financial background than most EAs. I've tried to submit grant applications (i.e. LTTF: rationale being that if LSE and my letter writers thought I could make it in academia, LTTF may concur) but have been rejected. The poor UK post-grad loan system means that it's not enough to cover the fees. I'm also unable to get private loans.
 

My options are now to do a PhD at a lower ranked school. However, EA often says that if you're going to do a PhD, it's best to do it at the best possible school due to the hierarchical nature of academia. Can you recommend grants/individuals that may consider giving me a grant (I would even get a loan if I could...)? Is it still worthwhile to pursue a PhD at a lower ranked school in Econ, given that I theoretically could have gone to an elite school if I had access to better finance?

Comment by So-Low Growth on AMA: Jason Crawford, The Roots of Progress · 2020-12-06T16:11:30.702Z · EA · GW

Quick thought here Jack and Jason (caveat - haven't thought about this much at all!). 

Yes, the creation of new fields is important. However, even if there are diminishing returns to new fields (sidenote - I've been thinking about ways to try and measure this empirically), what's more important is the applicability of the new field to existing fields. 

For example, even if we only create one new field but that field could be incredibly powerful. For example, APM (atomically precise manufacturing), or an AGI of some sorts, then it will have major ramifications on progress across all fields. 

However, if we created a lot of new  insignificant fields, then even if we create hundreds of them, progress won't be substantially improved across other domains.

I guess what I'm trying to say is the emphasis is not just on new fields per se. 

Comment by So-Low Growth on [deleted post] 2020-12-06T00:11:12.981Z

Will MacAskill has appeared on JRE before and probably talked about GiveWell. But yes, good news :).

Comment by So-Low Growth on AMA: Jason Crawford, The Roots of Progress · 2020-12-04T14:08:08.156Z · EA · GW

Aaron, I'm really ignorant about this issue but didn't Peter Singer have a course on EA a while back that if I recall correctly was fairly accessible and could be marketed towards high school students?

Comment by So-Low Growth on AMA: Jason Crawford, The Roots of Progress · 2020-12-04T14:03:39.871Z · EA · GW

Alexey, I'm also skeptical of the findings but haven't had time to dig deeper yet, so it's just hunches at the moment. I have already asked you for the draft :). Honestly, can't wait to read it since you announced it last week! 

Comment by So-Low Growth on AMA: Jason Crawford, The Roots of Progress · 2020-12-04T13:44:20.184Z · EA · GW

What a great question Benjamin! "Why should a longtermist EA work on boosting economic growth? " Is something I have been thinking about myself (my username gives it away...). 

One quick comment on this "I agree Progress Studies itself is far more neglected than general work to boost economic growth"

This spurs a question for me. How is Progress Studies different from people working on Economic Growth? 

Comment by So-Low Growth on AMA: Jason Crawford, The Roots of Progress · 2020-12-03T23:39:01.477Z · EA · GW

What do you think EA could learn from the 'Progress Studies' movement ?

Comment by So-Low Growth on AMA: Jason Crawford, The Roots of Progress · 2020-12-03T23:28:58.576Z · EA · GW

Thanks for doing this Jason. I agree with your  response here. Seems natural to think that there are diminishing marginal returns to ideas within a sector. 

You mention APM, which would spur progress in other sectors.  Are there ways to identify which sectors open up progress in other domains, i.e. identifying the ideas that could remove the constraining factors of progress (small and big)?

Comment by So-Low Growth on Long-Term Future Fund: November 2020 grant recommendations · 2020-12-03T14:06:33.534Z · EA · GW

Quick question regarding Richard Ngo's grant. I'm a big fan of his work/twitter. However, I'm somewhat surprised to see that funding is needed in this scenario, and I'm assuming that the grant is being given because funding is not provided by the university department. Or is the grant in addition to the normal stipend being received from being a PhD student with TA/RA duties?

Comment by So-Low Growth on What music do you find most inspires you to use your resources (effectively) to help others? · 2020-11-22T13:50:31.120Z · EA · GW

Haha - 15 hours of end of the world music sounds up my street! Here's one I like, Charles Bradley, "The World is Going Up in Flames." 

Comment by So-Low Growth on What music do you find most inspires you to use your resources (effectively) to help others? · 2020-11-21T22:35:44.744Z · EA · GW

Haha - wow!

Comment by So-Low Growth on So-Low Growth's Shortform · 2020-10-24T12:32:03.850Z · EA · GW

Thank you Aaron. That's exactly what I was looking for, and additionally I can dig deeper!

Comment by So-Low Growth on So-Low Growth's Shortform · 2020-10-13T20:32:42.663Z · EA · GW

Question: Imagine we could quantify the amount of suffering the average person does by eating meat and the amount of environmental damage that comes from eating this meat. How much would they need to donate to the most effective charities (climate change and animal suffering) in order to off-set their meat-eating habit?

Comment by So-Low Growth on Long-Term Future Fund: September 2020 grants · 2020-09-18T19:40:15.178Z · EA · GW

This makes a lot of sense to me Pablo. You highlighted what I was trying to explain when I was making the comment, that: 1) I was uncertain 2) I didn't want to attack someone. I must admit, my choice of words was rather poor and could come across as "bravery talk", although that was not what I intended.