Bill Gates: Best Investment Made


In an essay in the Wall Street Journal, “The Best Investment I Ever Made,” Bill Gates reports that his and Melinda’s investments in Gavi, the Global Fund, and the Global Polio Eradication Initiative had a far greater return than would be expected if the funds were invested elsewhere. The $10 billion they invested to provide vaccines, drugs, bed nets and other supplies in developing countries created an estimated $200 billion in social and economic benefits. The supporting analysis was conducted by the Copenhagen Consensus Center, relying on research conducted by CHDS faculty Lisa A. Robinson and James K. Hammitt and research assistant Lucy O’Keeffe. Several CHDS affiliates were involved in reviewing the study, including doctoral student Allison Portnoy and Deputy Director Stephen Resch.

The role of CHDS’ work was further emphasized in a related essay, “Measuring the Value of Health,” written by Gates Foundation Deputy Director of Data and Analytics, Global Development, and Strategy Planning, Damian Walker. Dr. Walker notes the importance of CHDS’ work on best practices for conducting benefit-cost analysis. That work includes recommendations for valuing mortality risk reductions that were central to the estimates featured in Gates’ Wall Street Journal essay. The basis for these recommendations is described in a recent Journal of Benefit-Cost Analysis special issue; the recommendations themselves are provided in the recently completed “Reference Case Guidelines for Benefit-Cost Analysis in Global Health and Development.”

Learn more: Read about the EPIC/Immunization project.
Learn more: Read about the Benefit-Cost Analysis Guidelines project.

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