The Case for Randomized Field Trials in Economic and Policy Research
Social experiments have been used in research since the 1960s, yet the technique of controlled experimentation still arouses controversy among social scientists. The crucial element that distinguishes a controlled experiment from other forms of research is random assignment of treatment to the observational units of study. Because treatment differences in the sample occur as a result of random chance, the effects of the treatment on behavior can be measured with high reliability. This paper examines the advantages and disadvantages of experiments in comparison with other research techniques and describes the circumstances where randomized trials should be preferred over other methods.
Volume (Year): 9 (1995)
Issue (Month): 2 (Spring)
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- LaLonde, Robert J, 1986. "Evaluating the Econometric Evaluations of Training Programs with Experimental Data," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(4), pages 604-20, September.
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- David Greenberg & Mark Shroder & Matthew Onstott, 1999. "The Social Experiment Market," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 13(3), pages 157-172, Summer.
- Gary Burtless, 1985. "Are Targeted Wage Subsidies Harmful? Evidence from a Wage Voucher Experiment," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 39(1), pages 105-114, October.
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