In the huge range of possible ways to improve the world that deserve to be examined, Rethink Priorities believes relatively few of them have been thoroughly examined within the broader Effective Altruism (EA) movement. Despite this restricted range of inquiry, the EA movement is allocating tens of millions of dollars and hundreds of thousands of hours of work each year to improving the world.
We think we can improve this allocation by trying to find areas that have previously been neglected, thoroughly investigating them, and ensuring that our research is seen and used. All things considered, we think we’re relatively unlikely to convince people of the number one cause, but we might find something others have not thought about. In addition to investigating areas that lack any investigation, we think we can accomplish this with more high-quality within-intervention research rather than more focusing on ranking causes and identifying more theoretical crucial considerations.
Of the many possible ways to practically conduct this research, we strive to emphasize quick feedback loops, seeking tractability in research by looking for questions that we may be able to make meaningful progress on, and tracking the impact of our research on an ongoing basis in order to determine whether the project is worth continuing.
Right now, our research agenda is primarily focused on prioritization and research work within interventions aimed at nonhuman animals (as research progress here looks uniquely tractable compared to other cause areas), understanding EA movement growth by running the EA Survey and assisting LEAN in gathering evidence about EA movement building (as research here looks tractable and neglected).
Our research agenda and approach are still in the very early stages and may change significantly as we grow and learn.
Find out more about our work and team at rethinkpriorities.org
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Tee Barnett and Baxter Bullock are co-founders of RC Forward, Students for High-Impact Charity (SHIC) and Executive Directors at Rethink Charity, organizations providing education on how to make the largest positive impact on the world with their time, skills, and money.
Baxter is a former high school math teacher who has traveled in over 30 countries. Tee earned his M.A. specializing in International Development from National Chengchi University (政治大學) in Taipei.