I'm a rising senior economics major, and I'm trying to make a decision about my career. I want to do as much good as possible, but I'm not sure how to estimate how much good I would produce in different careers. I've researched the evidence-based approaches that some philanthropic foundations use (e.g., the "impact planning" of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation), but their formulas, etc. don't seem generalizable to calculating an individual's marginal impact. For example, maybe it makes sense to donate a lot to global health but not pursue a career in it because there are already so many working in development. Right now I'm assuming that anything really important will eventually be achieved, so any contribution I make will consist of just coming up with an idea/implementing a project sooner than it would have otherwise. So how about this formula:
(N * T / L) * Q
Where N is the number of people in the population I'm targeting, T is how much sooner I come up with an idea/implement (e.g., a year sooner than someone else), L is the average lifespan of a person in the population (making T / L the extra fraction of a targeted person's life in which they benefit from the contribution and N * T / L the adjusted number of lives I'm affecting), and Q is the percentage increase in the goodness of the person's life, making N * T / L * Q the number of quality-adjusted lives I'm helping. So if a U.S. education program is implemented a year earlier because of me, there are 50m students, and this increases the quality of a student's life by 1%, is my impact:
(50m * 1 / 80) * 1% = 6,250?
All this seems confused, but I can't think of a better formula! Please help!!!