Toward an Ethical Experiment
104 Pages Posted: 5 Jan 2018 Last revised: 27 Oct 2018
Date Written: September 14, 2018
Randomized Controlled Trials (RCTs) enroll hundreds of millions of subjects and involve many human lives. To improve subjects’ welfare, I propose an experimental design that (1) produces a Pareto efficient allocation of treatment assignment probabilities, (2) is asymptotically incentive compatible for preference elicitation, and (3) unbiasedly estimates any causal effect estimable with standard RCTs. I quantify these properties by applying my proposal to a water cleaning experiment in Kenya (Kremer et al., 2011). Compared to standard RCTs, my design substantially improves subjects’ predicted well-being while reaching similar treatment effect estimates with similar precision.
Keywords: Research Ethics, Clinical Trial, Social Experiment, A/B Test, Market Design, Causal Inference, Development Economics, Spring Protection, Discrete Choice
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation