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How much will it cost to get an outcome as good as saving a life?


GiveWell is a charity evaluator that recommends a shortlist of charities in the field of global development that have the greatest impact per marginal donation. Towards this end, they try to quantify the effects of different interventions by estimating a "cost per life saved" metric to compare them on.

While they warn against taking these cost-effectiveness estimates literally, these estimates do give a guideline to which interventions are most effective and a rough idea of how cost-effective we should expect interventions to be.

Over time, these estimates change; they might update upwards if all the most cost-effective interventions are fully funded by philanthropists or if they overestimated the cost-effectiveness of the top intervention, and they might update downwards if more promising interventions are found or if an existing intervention has more benefits than previously expected.

How much will it cost to get an outcome as good as averting the death of an individual under 5, according to GiveWell's guess, at the end of 2021, in 2015 USD?

If available, the question will be resolved by taking the lowest value for the field "cost per outcome as good as: averting the death of an individual under 5" in the latest publicly available version of Givewell's cost-effectiveness analysis spreadsheet using the default values. These values are given after accounting for expected leverage and funging.

Similar questions asked for previous years would have resolved at (all in 2015 prices):

  • 2016: $890
  • 2017: $823
  • 2018: $617
  • 2019: $592

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