Are Randomized Poverty-Alleviation Experiments Ethical?
OPINION: Last month, the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences was awarded to three pioneers in using randomized controlled trials (RCTs) to fight poverty in low-income countries: Abhijit Banerjee, Esther Duflo, and Michael Kremer. In RCTs, researchers randomly choose a group of people to receive an intervention, and a control group of people who do not, and then compare the outcomes. But the use of RCTs does raise ethical questions, because they require randomly choosing who receives a new drug or aid program, and those in the control group often receive no intervention or one that may be inferior. Read More