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Assignment procedure biases in randomized policy experiments

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Author Info

  • Gani Aldashev
  • Georg Kirchsteiger
  • Alexander Sebald

Abstract

Randomized controlled trials (RCT) have become a dominant empirical tool in applied economics. The internal validity of RCTs crucially depends on the (implicit) assumption that the procedure assigning subjects to treatment and control groups has no effect on behavior. We show theoretically that this assumption is violated when people are motivated by belief-dependent preferences and care about the intentions of others. The choice of assignment procedure influences subjects’ behavior and, consequently, the RCTs’ findings. Strikingly, even a credible and explicit randomization procedure does not guarantee an unbiased prediction of the impact of a general introduction of the policy.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Collegio Carlo Alberto in its series Carlo Alberto Notebooks with number 292.

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Length: 27 pages
Date of creation: 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cca:wpaper:292

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Related research

Keywords: Randomized controlled trials; Policy experiments; Internal validity; Procedural concerns; Psychological game theory.;

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