Towards Improved and More Transparent Ethics in Randomised Controlled Trials in Development Social Science

Randomised controlled trials in development economics, political science, and other social science fields have been on the rise in recent decades. Recent awards and trials in development economics have re-ignited active discussions of the ethics of these trials. This paper surveys common ethical concerns with such trials and proposes a series of practical suggestions to help researchers and policymakers be more mindful of and transparent about ethics as they consider, design, implement, and report randomised controlled trials and other impact evaluations in development settings.

This paper was first published in February 2021 (original version available here). It was updated in August 2022 and is forthcoming at the Journal of Development Effectiveness.

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