Developing country governments spend a considerable chunk of their budget on poverty alleviation. These are tens or hundreds of billions of dollars in funding every year. Governments also make decisions that have profound influence on their economy, which affects their residents, the world’s poor. A small probability to positively affect those has a very large expected utility effect. As the governments themselves, or as donors, we should think of the most cost-effective investments and pursue them. However, as individual EAs we should ask “how much change can I make?”. It’s possible that working with developing country governments is individually more effective than setting up cost-effective NGOs, and so should be an EA strategy. Based in UC Berkeley, the Center for Effective Global Action (CEGA) is a network of 70+ academics on the West Coast who devise and test solutions to problems of poverty, often working with governments. We’ll present examples from CEGA research where involvement in government policy can have huge effects, and tentatively propose ways to pursue it.
Source: Effective Altruism Global (video).