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Selective trials: a principal-agent approach to randomized controlled trials

Chassang, Sylvain and Padró i Miquel, Gerard and Snowberg, Erik (2010) Selective trials: a principal-agent approach to randomized controlled trials. NBER working papers, 16343. NBER, Cambridge, USA.

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Identification Number: 16343

Abstract

We study the design of randomized controlled experiments in environments where outcomes are significantly affected by unobserved effort decisions taken by the subjects(agents). While standard randomized controlled trials (RCTs) are internally consistent, the unobservability of effort provision compromises external validity. We approach trial design as a principal-agent problem and show that natural extensions of RCTs -which we call selective trials- can help improve the external validity of experiments. In particular, selective trials can disentangle the effects of treatment, effort, and the interaction of treatment and effort. Moreover, they can help experimenters identify when measured treatment effects are affected by erroneous beliefs and inappropriate effort provision.

Item Type: Monograph (Working Paper)
Official URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w16343
Additional Information: © 2010 by Sylvain Chassang, Gerard Padro i Miquel, and Erik Snowberg
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HB Economic Theory
JEL classification: C - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods > C9 - Design of Experiments
C - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods > C9 - Design of Experiments > C90 - General
D - Microeconomics > D8 - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty > D82 - Asymmetric and Private Information
O - Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth > O1 - Economic Development > O12 - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
O - Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth > O2 - Development Planning and Policy > O22 - Project Analysis
Sets: Departments > Economics
Collections > Economists Online
Date Deposited: 05 Apr 2011 09:54
Last Modified: 05 Apr 2011 09:54
URI: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/33873

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