Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=2477076
 


 



Design of Randomized Experiments in Networks


Dylan Walker


Boston University

Lev Muchnik


Hebrew University of Jerusalem - Jerusalem School of Business Administration; New York University (NYU) - Department of Information, Operations, and Management Sciences

August 6, 2014


Abstract:     
Over the last decade, the emergence of pervasive online and digitally enabled environments has created a rich source of detailed data on human behavior. Yet, the promise of big data has recently come under fire for its inability to separate correlation from causation – to derive actionable insights and yield effective policies. Fortunately, the same online platforms on which we interact on a day-to-day basis permit experimentation at large scales, ushering in a new movement towards big experiments. Randomized controlled trials are the heart of the scientific method and when designed correctly provide clean causal inferences that are robust and reproducible. However, the realization that our world is highly connected and that behavioral and economic outcomes at the individual and population level depend upon this connectivity challenges the very principles of experimental design. The proper design and analysis of experiments in networks is therefore critically important. In this work, we categorize and review the emerging strategies to design and analyze experiments in networks and discuss their strengths and weaknesses.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 21

Keywords: randomized trial design, networks, networked experiments, online field experiments, digital experimentation

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Date posted: August 7, 2014 ; Last revised: November 21, 2014

Suggested Citation

Walker, Dylan and Muchnik, Lev, Design of Randomized Experiments in Networks (August 6, 2014). Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2477076

Contact Information

Dylan Walker (Contact Author)
Boston University ( email )
595 Commonwealth Avenue
Boston, MA 02215
United States
HOME PAGE: http://www.dylantwalker.com
Lev Muchnik
Hebrew University of Jerusalem - Jerusalem School of Business Administration ( email )
Mount Scopus
Jerusalem, 91905
Israel
New York University (NYU) - Department of Information, Operations, and Management Sciences ( email )
44 West Fourth Street
New York, NY 10012
United States
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