A conversation with Angus Deaton about RCTs

The interrogator is Timothy N. Ogden, here is one bit from Deaton:

Something I read the other day that I didn’t know, David Greenberg and Mark Shroder, who have a book, The Digest of Social Experiments, claim that 75 percent of the experiments they looked at in 1999, of which there were hundreds, is an experiment done by rich people on poor people. Since then, there have been many more experiments, relatively, launched in the developing world, so that percentage can only have gotten worse.  I find that very troubling.

If the implicit theory of policy change underlying RCTs is paternalism, which is what I fear, I’m very much against it.

The conversation is interesting throughout.  Tim indicates:

This is a chapter from the forthcoming book Experimental Conversations, to be published by MIT Press in 2016. The book collects interviews with academic and policy leaders on the use of randomized evaluations and field experiments in development economics. To be notified when the book is released, please sign up here.

The book will contain an interview with me as well.


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