1. Cause Area Research

Different geographic regions may have comparative advantages in different cause areas. The following guide provides a set of questions to answer to help identify particularly promising causes for your region.

There are two approaches for matching causes to your region: starting from information about causes or starting from information about the region. If you start with the region you risk to miss some causes, which are not on the top of your head. And if you start from causes, you may anchor to existing ideas and miss neglected opportunities. We suggest doing both if possible, and if you do just one starting from the region first to avoid anchoring.

This step should not be influenced by general prioritization of cause areas and particularly by your personal preferences.

1.1 From geographic region to cause areas

  1. Create a comprehensive brainstorm of potentially relevant facts about policy, economics, culture, technological development and job market in your region. For ideas on potentially relevant factors, see this framework below. (10-20 minutes)
  2. Structure the gathered ideas to group them by areas, using the framework below as a guide. Use the geographic analysis section of Jah Ying’s framework summarized below to address each cause area. Some of these questions will fall under the STN framework. Other questions are mentioned below.

Geographic Analysis Framework

Analysis Type
Geographic analysis
Existing Alignment
Culture and HistoryPhilosophyTranslationMovementsPhilanthropic environmentExisting EA presence
Type and quantity of talentKey educational institutionsInstitution ranking
Type and quantity of talentKey educational olicy germanyinstitutionsInstitution ranking
Business & Politics
Routes to influenceGeopolitical concerns, influence and alliances
Technology transferAbility to set precedence in legislation/regulationPresence of key institutionsControl of supply chainsAbility to act as a testing ground

Summary of the geographic analysis questions, read the full questions with examples here.

You can then overlay these with the ITN framework, for example:

  • Importance - Does this country contribute significantly to this problem or will do in the future? I.e. factory farming in Indonesia
  • Tractability - Are there organisations having meaningful impact?
  • Neglectedness - Are there organisations working on this?

Note that the Importance / Tractability / Neglectedness

. See

for discussion and suggestions. Maybe in some cases it is worth to separately evaluate an intervention itself and how good a company implements this intervention (see the

). Often, these three metrics are falsely correlated, so estimating value for one of them you should control for the rest. See explanation


1.2 From causes to the geographic region

  1. Create a list of possible causes (see the 80k profiles)
  2. For each cause write main information about relevance to your region. Set rank 1-5 for each cause using the following rules: (20-40 minutes)
    • 1: perfect match for the region, should be a top priority for the local EAs
    • 2: fit is good, but there are some minor problems, or there is not enough information to say for sure
    • 3: the region has some advantages for this kind of work, but it’s minor
    • 4: work can be done in this direction, but no competitive advantage
    • 5: there are strong arguments against doing this kind of work in the region. It’s either a complete waste of time or harmful.

1.3 Resources