Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Reactions from a Control Group in Ghana

Randomized control trials (RCTs for short) have been the fad in development economics research during the past five years or so. One usual concern for this research methodology is that it's ethically incorrect. Usually, the trials evaluate the effect of offering poor people in poor countries with something that is supposed to be good, such as medicine, money, savings accounts, etc. And this offer is given to people randomly selected. So there are people who won't get any offer like this. Such people may be offended.

In Ghana, at least, this concern appears to be minimal. See this post from the blog of IPA, a non-profit organization founded by Dean Karlan, a leading development economist who made a fame from his RCT research in development economics. (He's actually coming to my workplace next month.)

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