Clinical Trials in Economics
2 Pages Posted: 9 Aug 2011
Date Written: September 6, 2010
The gold standard for scientific research is reproducible controlled experiments. In the last two or three decades economics has made much progress in implementing experiments in both the laboratory and in the field. I propose that the NSF should set up a program to fund field experiments/clinical trials in a variety of areas in economics. These clinical trials should be designed to resolve fundamental debates in economics. Proposals for experimental designs should be submitted to a special program and be reviewed by referees and a panel of experts, as with current experiments. Unlikely current proposals, we would expect some iteration with respect to the experimental design. When a consensus (or a significant majority) is reached about experimental design, funding would be offered to the researchers. It would be helpful to involve researchers from public health and other fields who are familiar with the problems involved with large clinical trials.
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation