01. juni 2015

Alexander Sebald publishes article in The Economic Journal

"Assignment procedure biases in randomized policy experiments"

Abstract: Randomized controlled trials (RCT) have gained ground as the dominant tool for studying policy interventions in many fields of applied economics. We analyze theoretically encouragement and resentful demoralization in RCTs and show that these might be rooted in the same behavioral trait - people’s propensity to act reciprocally. When people are motivated by reciprocity, the choice of assignment procedure influences the RCTs’ findings. We show that even credible and explicit randomization procedures do not guarantee an unbiased prediction of the impact of policy interventions; however, they minimize any bias relative to other less transparent assignment procedures.

A preprint of the article is available here.

Sebald has co-authored the article with Aldashev, G. and Kirchsteiger, G.