Research and Evidence

The Life You Can Save puts great value on proven interventions for addressing extreme poverty, with emphasis on “proven.” We believe the most effective approaches are identified by rigorous testing and evaluation, resulting in evidence-based approaches with clear, measurable impact that can be scaled to cost-effectively help thousands and often millions of people. Read about organizations whose research drives effective poverty work; how to identify proven charities; and read TLYCS’s reports sharing evidence of our own work and impact.


Should donors from developing countries give locally or internationally?
A dilemma always arises in the minds of Brazilian effective altruists: Given the difference in the exchange rates and the fact that Brazil is also a country with widespread poverty, is it still more effective to give overseas? After all we have 10 million people living below the poverty line, about 5 percent of the population. Also, whenever the dollar rises our donations seem to be worth a little less.
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Why  your inner control freak needs taming when it comes to charitable giving
Some time ago, I had a conversation with a friend about charitable giving. She said that one of the reasons she was giving locally rather than globally was that she felt more in control about where the money goes. But do you really have more control? And what does that mean for those in need?
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You could be the Warren Buffett of social investing
Suppose I told you about an investment that would easily generate a 60-fold return in a few years with very little risk. And then I tell you that some of the world’s top economists have looked at the opportunity and agreed with me.
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The Life You Can Save’s 2015 Annual Report
In 2015 we moved $1.55 million to our recommended charities. This is a conservative estimate, and perhaps an extremely conservative one- as discussed in the Offline Donations section below, our true impact could have been several million dollars greater. Our operating expenses were ~$280,000 meaning we conservatively moved ~$5.5 to outstanding charities for each dollar we spent.
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This year’s recap of Giving Game metrics
I expect that growth will accelerate modestly this academic year. My rough estimate is that the annual growth rate for Standard Giving Games will be in the 100 to 150 percent range. Mini Giving Games should grow a bit faster, probably in the 150 to 200 percent range. While these estimates are necessarily imprecise, I suspect that we're more likely to exceed the estimated ranges than to undershoot them.
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Why we should fund innovations that work
The Global Innovation Fund (GIF) is a funding organization that has the radical approach of funding organizations to get evidence of impact, and helping those who have the evidence to scale their programs to reach millions. This type of approach may seem obvious, but sadly it’s desperately need in the charity sector. Without the type of testing of projects GIF supports we wouldn’t know which interventions are actually effective and hence we’d just be guessing when trying to decide between the countless programs designed to improve life for millions around the world.
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What the recent deworming studies mean for our donors
Three recently published studies have raised doubts about the effectiveness of deworming treatments. Here's why the studies' findings don't change our recommendations of SCI and Evidence Action's Deworm the World initiative.
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Can Giving Games change donor behavior? We did an experiment to find out
Giving Game participants have the opportunity to donate a predetermined sum of money to charity. This means that participants get to engage in charitable behavior, but don’t have to dish out their own money in order to do so. We structured our study to examine whether this dynamic promotes pro-social behavior, looking specifically at actions that could influence long-term giving behavior.
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Is there such a thing as
Effective altruists are guided by the heart and the head. We love numbers and transparency. We like knowing exactly where our money is going, how many people it's helping, and how our chosen charities plan to do even more in the future. But we all started giving for a reason: to help others. When I first began making charitable donations, I didn't even consider those charities' effectiveness. I gave because their mission moved me. I gave because I read appeal letters and beneficiaries' testimonials, and I knew that I wanted to make a difference.
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Why a campaign to make medical studies public will help the global poor
By Caroline Fiennes, Director of Giving Evidence

Why is the AllTrials campaign relevant to the world’s poorest people? Most obviously, non-publication affects the effectiveness of medicines bought and prescribed to help cure and alleviate the debilitating illnesses of those who live in the developing world.
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