In recent years, the use of randomised controlled trials has spread from labour market and welfare programme evaluation to other areas of economics, and to other social sciences, perhaps most prominently in development and health economics. This column argues that some of the popularity of such trials rests on misunderstandings about what they are capable of accomplishing, and cautions against simple extrapolations from trials to other contexts.
Angus Deaton, Nancy Cartwright, 09 November 2016
Alexander Cappelen, Bertil Tungodden, 02 June 2016
Are criminals lacking in moral motivation? In this video, Alexander Cappelen and Bertil Tungodden conduct an experiment in order to understand if prisoners differ from other people when it comes to sharing money. On average, prisoners share as much as others when confronted to the same situations. Their study has implications for the reintegration of criminals into society. This video was recorded at the Choice Lab, Norwegian School of Economics, in Bergen.
Esther Duflo, 23 May 2016
Randomised controlled trials create comparable groups which are subject to different treatments. The results of the trial allow us to understand the impact of a particular intervention. In this video, Esther Duflo discusses how randomised controlled trials can be used to inform policymakers. Experimenting with policies under different contexts could help build more effective policies, especially in developing countries. This video was recorded in March 2016 during the Royal Economic Society’s Annual Conference held at the University of Sussex.
Gerd Muehlheusser, Andreas Roider, Niklas Wallmeier, 16 February 2015
Many nations and corporations strive to raise female membership in decision-making bodies. This column discusses new experimental evidence suggesting that there is more lying (and more extreme lying) in male groups and mixed-gender groups than in female groups. Moreover, group decision-making exacerbates men’s tendency to lie while the opposite is true for women. This suggests that the gender composition of decision-making bodies is important when the goal is to limit the scope of unethical behaviour.
Ghazala Azmat, Barbara Petrongolo, 07 June 2014
There are considerable gender differences in pay and employment levels, and in the type of labour-market activities. This column reviews experimental studies that address different aspects of these problems. Three channels are explored: gender discrimination on the labour market, differences in individual and group preferences, and productivity. Despite recent experimental advances, gender differences in labour-market success have only been partially explained.