Risk and Evidence of Bias in Randomized Controlled Trials in Economics
Brown University - Department of Economics
London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE)
London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
January 6, 2014
Mimeo, (2013), Brown University
For many years, the randomized controlled trial (RCT) has been the main approach for assessing whether medical interventions do or do not work. Economists are increasingly using RCTs for similar purposes. A large body of literature in medicine links flaws in trial design, conduct and reporting to exaggerated estimates of treatment effects (bias). We use this literature to compare adequacy of reporting and risk of bias in RCTs published in major medical and economics journals between 2001 and 2011. We find that economics RCTs are at a higher risk of bias. We conclude with guidance on how to address this.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 62
Keywords: randomized controlled trials, field experiments, bias, treatment effect estimates
JEL Classification: C9, C90, C93, C10, C12, C18
Date posted: May 31, 2013 ; Last revised: January 7, 2014
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