NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
loading...

Randomization in the Tropics Revisited: a Theme and Eleven Variations

Angus Deaton

NBER Working Paper No. 27600
Issued in July 2020
NBER Program(s):Economics of Aging, Development Economics, Health Care, Health Economics

Randomized controlled trials have been used in economics for 50 years, and intensively in economic development for more than 20. There has been a great deal of useful work, but RCTs have no unique advantages or disadvantages over other empirical methods in economics. They do not simplify inference, nor can an RCT establish causality. Many of the difficulties were recognized and explored in economics 30 years ago, but are sometimes forgotten. I review some of the most relevant issues here. The most troubling questions concern ethics, especially when very poor people are experimented on. Finding out what works, even if such a thing is possible, is in itself a deeply inadequate basis for policy

download in pdf format
   (237 K)

email paper

Machine-readable bibliographic record - MARC, RIS, BibTeX

Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w27600

 
Publications
Activities
Meetings
NBER Videos
Themes
Data
People
About

National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138; 617-868-3900; email: info@nber.org

Contact Us