Sylvain Chassang

Department of Economics
New York University
19 West 4th Street
New York, NY 10012
Tel: 212/995-4186

E-Mail: EmailAddress: hidden: you can email any NBER-related person as first underscore last at nber dot org
NBER Program Affiliations: DEV
NBER Affiliation: Research Associate

NBER Working Papers and Publications

April 2016Decision Theoretic Approaches to Experiment Design and External Validity
with Abhijit Banerjee, Erik Snowberg: w22167
A modern, decision-theoretic framework can help clarify important practical questions of experimental design. Building on our recent work, this chapter begins by summarizing our framework for understanding the goals of experimenters, and applying this to re-randomization. We then use this framework to shed light on questions related to experimental registries, pre-analysis plans, and most importantly, external validity. Our framework implies that even when large samples can be collected, external decision-making remains inherently subjective. We embrace this conclusion, and argue that in order to improve external validity, experimental research needs to create a space for structured speculation.
July 2014Corruption, Intimidation, and Whistle-blowing: a Theory of Inference from Unverifiable Reports
with Gerard PadrĂ³ i Miquel: w20315
We consider a game between a principal, an agent, and a monitor in which the principal would like to rely on messages by the monitor to target intervention against a misbehaving agent. The difficulty is that the agent can credibly threaten to retaliate against likely whistleblowers in the event of an intervention. In this setting intervention policies that are very responsive to the monitor's message provide very informative signals to the agent, allowing him to shut down communication channels. Successful intervention policies must garble the information provided by monitors and cannot be fully responsive. We show that even if hard evidence is unavailable and monitors have heterogeneous incentives to (mis)report, it is possible to establish robust bounds on equilibrium corruption using o...
September 2010Selective Trials: A Principal-Agent Approach to Randomized Controlled Experiments
with Gerard Padro i Miquel, Erik Snowberg: w16343
We study the design of randomized controlled experiments in environments where outcomes are significantly affected by unobserved effort decisions taken by the subjects(agents). While standard randomized controlled trials (RCTs) are internally consistent, the unobservability of effort provision compromises external validity. We approach trial design as a principal-agent problem and show that natural extensions of RCTs -which we call selective trials- can help improve the external validity of experiments. In particular, selective trials can disentangle the effects of treatment, effort, and the interaction of treatment and effort. Moreover, they can help experimenters identify when measured treatment effects are affected by erroneous beliefs and inappropriate effort provision.

Published: Sylvain Chassang & Gerard Padro I Miquel & Erik Snowberg, 2012. "Selective Trials: A Principal-Agent Approach to Randomized Controlled Experiments," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(4), pages 1279-1309, June. citation courtesy of

April 2008Conflict and Deterrence under Strategic Risk
with Gerard Padro i Miquel: w13964
We examine the mechanics of deterrence and intervention when fear is a motive for conflict. We contrast results obtained in a complete information setting, where coordination is easy, to those obtained in a setting with strategic risk, where players have different assessments of their environment. These two strategic settings allow us to define and distinguish predatory and preemptive incentives as determinants of conflict. We show that while weapons have an unambiguous deterrent effect under complete information, this does not hold anymore under strategic risk. Rather, we find that increases in weapon stocks can have a non-monotonic effect on the sustainability of peace. We also show that under strategic risk, inequality in military strength can ac- tually facilitate peace and that antici...

Published: Sylvain Chassang & Gerard PadrĂ³ i Miquel, 2010. "Conflict and Deterrence under Strategic Risk," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 125(4), pages 1821-1858, November. citation courtesy of

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