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The ethics of New Development Economics: is the Experimental Approach to Development Economics morally wrong?

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  • Stéphane J. Baele

    (University of Namur)

Abstract

The 2000s have witnessed the arrival and growing popularity of randomized controlled experiments (RCTs) in Development Economics. Whilst this new way of conducting research on development has unfolded important insights, the ethical challenge it provokes has not yet been systematically examined. The present article aims at filling this gap by providing the first ad hoc discussion of the moral issues that accompany the use of RCTs in Development Economics. Claiming that this new research agenda needs its own, specific set of ethical guidelines, we expose the six ethical problems that these experiments potentially provoke and that should therefore be carefully assessed by ethics committees before an RCT is launched and by scholarly journals before its results are published.

Suggested Citation

  • Stéphane J. Baele, 2013. "The ethics of New Development Economics: is the Experimental Approach to Development Economics morally wrong?," The Journal of Philosophical Economics, Bucharest Academy of Economic Studies, The Journal of Philosophical Economics, vol. 7(1), November.
  • Handle: RePEc:bus:jphile:v:7:y:2013:i:1:n:4
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Humphreys Macartan, 2015. "Reflections on the Ethics of Social Experimentation," Journal of Globalization and Development, De Gruyter, vol. 6(1), pages 87-112, June.
    2. Martin Ravallion, 2018. "Should the Randomistas (Continue to) Rule?," Working Papers 492, Center for Global Development, revised 17 Jan 2019.
    3. Macartan Humphreys, 2015. "Reflections on the Ethics of Social Experimentation," WIDER Working Paper Series wp-2015-018, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    4. Liesbeth Colen & Sergio Gomez y Paloma & Uwe Latacz-Lohmann & Marianne Lefebvre & Raphaële Préget & Sophie Thoyer, 2016. "Economic Experiments as a Tool for Agricultural Policy Evaluation: Insights from the European CAP," Canadian Journal of Agricultural Economics/Revue canadienne d'agroeconomie, Canadian Agricultural Economics Society/Societe canadienne d'agroeconomie, vol. 64(4), pages 667-694, December.
    5. Liesbeth Colen & Sergio Gomez Y Paloma & Uwe Latacz-Lohmann & Marianne Lefebvre & Sophie Thoyer & Raphaële Préget, 2015. "(How) can economic experiments inform EU agricultural policy?," JRC Working Papers JRC97340, Joint Research Centre (Seville site).
    6. Michel Abramowicz & Ariane Szafarz, 2019. "Ethics of Randomized Controlled Trials: Should Economists Care about Equipoise?," Working Papers CEB 19-017, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Development Economics; ethics; RCTs; experiments;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • O10 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - General

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