Published: May 2017
Note: This page summarizes the rationale behind a grant to New Incentives made by Good Ventures. New Incentives staff reviewed this page prior to publication.
As part of GiveWell's work on Incubation Grants, which are intended to support the development of potential future top charities, in April of 2017 Good Ventures made a grant of $820,000 to New Incentives. New Incentives plans to use these funds to support its work on conditional cash transfers to incentivize child immunization.
GiveWell previously recommended several grants to New Incentives, including funding for general support in 2014, 2015, and 2016, as well as a November 2016 exit grant that included funding for New Incentives to pivot to its new program incentivizing immunizations. For more information on New Incentives as an organization, see what we have written about our previous grants, linked above.
In late 2016, we concluded that New Incentives' previous program (conditional cash transfers to incentivize facility delivery) was unlikely to become a GiveWell top charity. Since then, New Incentives has begun operating a program providing conditional cash transfers for child immunizations in Nigeria. Over the next few months, New Incentives plans to explore potential for scale-up.
Goals for the grant and plans for follow-up
In the event that New Incentives' work over the next few months indicates that scaling up this program would be promising, New Incentives intends to begin a randomized controlled trial (RCT) evaluating the impact of its program on immunization rates and/or child mortality in September 2017. At that time, GiveWell may consider recommending an additional grant to New Incentives in order to cover some or all of the costs of the RCT. We very roughly estimate that an RCT would cost approximately $4 million (including implementation and evaluation costs), which could bring our total funding contribution to approximately $5 million between now and when New Incentives might become a top charity.
There are several ways in which what we learn over the next six months could lead us to not recommend funding for an RCT:
- We may learn of serious operational hurdles in the North West zone of Nigeria (where New Incentives currently plans to expand) that imply that New Incentives will not be able to implement its program there.
- We may receive additional data (especially data on the program's effectiveness) that significantly affects our cost-effectiveness analysis (CEA).
- Our view of the program may change due to additional work on our CEA and reviewing the evidence base for New Incentives' program, regardless of any additional data.
If we do recommend funding for an RCT, we suspect that IDinsight would conduct it. As part of its preparation for a possible RCT, IDinsight recently conducted a site visit to New Incentives in Nigeria. In addition to considerations relevant to a future RCT, IDinsight's trip report includes a detailed description of New Incentives' program.1
Our current best guess is that New Incentives' program is approximately two to five times as cost-effective as unconditional cash transfers. However, our cost-effectiveness analysis is in its early stages, and we believe it may change significantly as we receive more information and revise our model.2
We are experimenting with recording explicit numerical forecasts of the probability of events related to our decision-making (especially grant-making). The purpose of this exercise is to record the implicit predictions that inform our decisions, and to make it possible for us to look back on how well-calibrated and accurate those predictions were. For this grant, we are recording the following forecasts:
- 70% chance that we provide funding for an RCT of New Incentives' program
- 50% chance that New Incentives is a top charity at the end of 2019
|IDinsight New Incentives trip photos||Source|
|IDinsight New Incentives trip report||Source|
|New Incentives budget, March 2017||Source (archive)|
|New Incentives cost-effectiveness analysis||Source|