Ethics of Field Experiments: A Bibliography

(Prepared and Managed by Emma Cohn and Douglas MacKay)

Comprehensive Discussions

Alderman, Harold, Jishnu Das and Vijayendra Rao. “Conducting Ethical Economic Research: Complications from the Field.” In The Oxford Handbook of Professional Economic Ethics, edited by George F. DeMartino and Deirdre McCloskey, 402-422. New York: Oxford University Press, 2016. DOI: 10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199766635.013.018

Asiedu, Edward, Dean Karlan, Monica P. Lambon-Quayefio and Christopher R. Udry. “A Call for Structured Ethics Appendices in Social Science Papers.” PNAS 118, no. 29 (2021): e2024570118. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.2024570118

Asiedu, Edward, Dean Karlan, Monica P. Lambon-Quayefio and Christopher R. Udry. “A Call for Structured Ethics Appendices in Social Science Papers.” NBER Working Paper 28393, National Bureau of Economic Research, Cambridge, MA, April 2021. DOI: 10.3386/w28393

Baele, Stéphane J. “The Ethics of New Development Economics: Is the Experimental Approach to Development Economics Morally Wrong?” The Journal of Philosophical Economics 7, no. 1 (2013). Source.

Barnett, Chris, and Laura Camfield. “Ethics in Evaluation.” Journal of Development Effectiveness 8, no. 4 (2016): 528-534. https://doi.org/10.1080/19439342.2016.1244554

Blustein, Jan. “Towards a More Public Discussion of the Ethics of Federal Social Program Evaluation.” Journal of Policy Analysis and Management 24, no. 4 (2005): 824-846. https://doi.org/10.1002/pam.20141

Cronin-Furman, Kate, and Milli Lake. “Ethics Abroad: Fieldwork in Fragile and Violent Contexts.” PS: Political Science and Politics 51, no. 3 (2018): 607-614. https://doi.org/10.1017/S1049096518000379

Desposato, Scott. “Introduction.” In Ethics and Experiments: Problems and Solutions for Social Scientists and Policy Professionals, edited by Scott Desposato, 1-22.  New York: Routledge, 2016. Source.

Desposato, Scott. “Conclusion and Recommendations.” In Ethics and Experiments: Problems and Solutions for Social Scientists and Policy Professionals, edited by Scott Desposato, 267-289. New York: Routledge, 2016. Source.

Desposato, Scott. “The Ethical Challenges of Political Science Field Experiments.” In The Oxford Handbook of Research Ethics, edited by Ana Iltis and Douglas MacKay. New York: Oxford University Press, Forthcoming. DOI: 10.1093/oxfordhb/9780190947750.013.21

Evans, David K. “Towards Improved and More Transparent Ethics in Randomised Controlled Trials in Development Social Science.” Working Paper 565, Center for Global Development, Washington, DC, February 2021. Source.

Fernandez Lynch, H., D.J. Greiner, and I.G. Cohen. “Overcoming Obstacles to Experiments in Legal Practice.” Science 367, no. 6482 (2020): 1078-1080. DOI: 10.1126/science.aay3005

Glennerster, Rachel and Shawn Powers. “Balancing Risk and Benefit: Ethical Tradeoffs in Running Randomized Evaluations.” In The Oxford Handbook of Professional Economic Ethics, edited by George F. DeMartino and Deirdre McCloskey, 367-401. New York: Oxford University Press, 2019. DOI: 10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199766635.013.017

Humphreys, Macartan. “Reflections on the Ethics of Social Experimentation.” Journal of Globalization and Development 6, no. 1 (2015): 87-112. https://doi.org/10.1515/jgd-2014-0016

McDermott, Rose and Peter K. Hatemi. “Ethics in Field Experimentation: A Call to Establish New Standards to Protect the Public from Unwanted Manipulation and Real Harms.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 117, no. 48 (2020): 30014-30021. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.2012021117

Phillips, Trisha. “Ethics of Field Experiments.” Annual Review of Political Science 24 (2021): 277-300. https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev-polisci-041719-101956

Teele, Dawn L. “Reflections on the Ethics of Field Experiments.” In Field Experiments and Their Critics, edited by Dawn L. Teele, 115-140. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2014. Source

Whitfield, Gregory. “TRENDS: Toward a Separate Ethics of Political Field Experiments.” Political Research Quarterly 72, no. 3 (2019): 527-538. https://doi.org/10.1177/1065912919835970

Williams, Leslie Groves. “Ethics in International Development Evaluation and Research: What is the Problem, Why Does it Matter and What Can We Do About it?” Journal of Development Effectiveness 8, no. 4 (2016): 535-552. https://doi.org/10.1080/19439342.2016.1244700

 

Social Value

Daeman, Josette. “What (If Anything) Can Justify Basic Income Experiments? Balancing Costs and Benefits in Terms of Justice.” Basic Income Studies, Forthcoming. https://doi.org/10.1515/bis-2021-0024

Khosrowi, Donal. “Trade-Offs Between Epistemic and Moral Values in Evidence-Based Policy.” Economics and Philosophy 35, no. 1 (2019): 49-78. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0266267118000159

London, Alex John. “Equipoise: Integrating Social Value and Equal Respect in Research with Humans.” In The Oxford Handbook of Research Ethics, edited by Ana Iltis and Douglas MacKay. New York: Oxford University Press, Forthcoming. DOI: 10.1093/oxfordhb/9780190947750.013.13

Wenner, Danielle M. “The Social Value of Research and Health Research Priority-Setting.” In The Oxford Handbook of Research Ethics, edited by Ana Iltis and Douglas MacKay. New York: Oxford University Press, Forthcoming. DOI: 10.1093/oxfordhb/9780190947750.013.10

 

Risk/Benefit Assessment

Driscoll, Jesse. “Prison States and Games of Chicken.” In Ethics and Experiments: Problems and Solutions for Social Scientists and Policy Professionals, edited by Scott Desposato, 81-96. New York: Routledge, 2016. Source.

Grose, Christian R. “Field Experiments on Elected Public Officials.” In Ethics and Experiments: Problems and Solutions for Social Scientists and Policy Professionals, edited by Scott Desposato, 227-238. New York: Routledge, 2016. Source.

Gubler, Joshua R., and Joel S. Selway. “Considering the Political Consequences of Comparative Politics Experiments.” In Ethics and Experiments: Problems and Solutions for Social Scientists and Policy Professionals, edited by Scott Desposato, 171-182. New York: Routledge, 2016. Source.

Malesky, Edmund J. “Manipulating Elites.” In Ethics and Experiments: Problems and Solutions for Social Scientists and Policy Professionals, edited by Scott Desposato, 217-226. New York: Routledge, 2016. Source.

Warwick, Donald P. “Types of Harm in Social Research.” In Ethical Issues in Social Science Research, edited by Tom L. Beauchamp, Ruth R. Faden, R. Jay Wallace, Jr., and LeRoy Walters, 101-124. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1982. Source

Zimmerman, Brigitte. “Information and Power: Ethical Considerations of Political Information Experiments.” In Ethics and Experiments: Problems and Solutions for Social Scientists and Policy Professionals, edited by Scott Desposato, 183-197. New York: Routledge, 2016. Source.

 

Ethics of Randomization: Equipoise and Fairness

Abramowicz, Michel and Ariane Szafarz. “Ethics of RCTs: Should Economists Care About Equipoise?” In Randomized Control Trials in the Field of Development: A Critical Perspective, edited by Florent Bédécarrats, Isabelle Guérin, and François Roubaud, 280-292. New York: Oxford University Press, 2020. DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198865360.003.0012

Burkholder, Leslie. “Equipoise and Ethics in Educational Research.” Theory and Research in Education 19, no. 1 (2021): 65-77. https://doi-org.libproxy.lib.unc.edu/10.1177/14778785211009105

Dionne, Kim Yi, Augustine Harawa, and Hastings Honde. “The Ethics of Exclusion When Experimenting in Impoverished Settings.” In Ethics and Experiments: Problems and Solutions for Social Scientists and Policy Professionals, edited by Scott Desposato, 25-41. New York: Routledge, 2016. Source.

Haushofer, Johannes, Michala Iben Riis-Vestergaard, and Jeremy Shapiro. “Is There a Social Cost of Randomization?” Social Choice and Welfare 52, no. 4 (2019): 709-739. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00355-018-1168-7

Joag, Kaustubh, Guillermo Ambrosio, Edgar Kestler, Charles Weijer, Karla Hemming and Rieke Van der Graaf. “Ethical Issues in the Design and Conduct of Stepped-Wedge Cluster Randomized Trials in Low-Resource Settings.” BMC Medical Ethics 20, no. 703 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1186/s13063-019-3842-1

Kombe, Maureen Mupeta, Joseph Mumba Zulu, Charles Michelo and Ingvild F. Sandøy. “Community Perspectives on Randomisation and Fairness in a Cluster Randomised Controlled Trial in Zambia.” BMC Medical Ethics 20, no. 99 (2019). DOI: https://doi.org/10.1186/s12910-019-0421-7.

London, Alex John. “Equipoise: Integrating Social Value and Equal Respect in Research with Humans.” In The Oxford Handbook of Research Ethics, edited by Ana Iltis and Douglas MacKay. New York: Oxford University Press, Forthcoming. DOI: 10.1093/oxfordhb/9780190947750.013.13

MacKay, Douglas. “Government Policy Experiments and the Ethics of Randomization.” Philosophy and Public Affairs 48, no. 1 (2020): 319-352. https://doi-org.libproxy.lib.unc.edu/10.1111/papa.12174

MacKay, Douglas. “The Ethics of Public Policy RCTs: The Principle of Policy Equipoise.” Bioethics 32 (2018): 59-67. https://doi-org.libproxy.lib.unc.edu/10.1111/bioe.12403

McCartney, Gerry, Neil Craig, Fiona Myers, Wendy Hearty and Coryn Barclay. “What Are the Implications of Applying Equipoise in Planning Citizens Basic Income Pilots in Scotland?” Public Health Ethics (2021). https://doi.org/10.1093/phe/phab001

Meyer, Michelle N., Patrick R. Heck, Geoffrey S. Holtzman, Stephen M. Anderson, William Cai, Duncan J. Watts, and Christopher F. Chabris. “Objecting to Experiments that Compare Two Unobjectionable Policies or Treatments.” PNAS 116, no. 22 (2019): 10723-10728. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1820701116

Petticrew, M., M. McKee, K. Lock, J. Green and G. Phillips. “In Search of Social Equipoise.” BMJ 346 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.f4016

Prost, Audrey, Ariella Binik, Ibrahim Abubakar, Anjana Roy, Manuela De Allegri, Christelle Mouchoux, Tobias Dreischulte, Helen Ayles, James J. Lewis and David Osrin. “Logistic, Ethical, and Political Dimensions of Stepped Wedge Trials: Critical Review and Case Studies.” Trials 16, no. 351 (2015). DOI: 10.1186/s13063-015-0837-4

Rayzberg, Margarita S. “Fairness in the Field: The Ethics of Resource Allocation in Randomized Controlled Field Experiments.” Science, Technology, & Human Values 44, no. 3 (2019): 371-398. https://doi-org.libproxy.lib.unc.edu/10.1177/0162243918798471

Ziliak, Stephen T. and Edward R. Teather-Posadas. “The Unprincipled Randomization Principle in Economics and Medicine.” In The Oxford Handbook of Professional Economic Ethics, edited by George F. DeMartino and Deirdre McCloskey, 423-454. New York: Oxford University Press, 2016. DOI: 10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199766635.013.44

 

Respect for Persons and Informed Consent

Findley, Michael, and Daniel Nielson, “Obligated to Deceive? Aliases, Confederates, and the Common Rule in International Field Experiments.” In Ethics and Experiments: Problems and Solutions for Social Scientists and Policy Professionals, edited by Scott Desposato, 151-170. New York: Routledge, 2016. Source.

Frazer, Michael L. “Respect for Subjects  in the Ethics of Causal and Interpretive Social Explanation.” American Political Science Review 114, no. 4 (2020): 1001-1012. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0003055420000453

Hoffman, Nimi. “Involuntary Experiments in Former Colonies: The Case for a Moratorium.” World Development 127 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.worlddev.2019.104805

Hoffman, Nimi. “Involuntary Social Experimentation: Revisiting the Case for a Moratorium.” CODESRIA Bulletin, no. 1 (2020): 7-14.

MacKay, Douglas and Averi Chakrabarti. “Government Policy Experiments and Informed Consent.” Public Health Ethics 12, no. 2 (2019): 188-201. https://doi.org/10.1093/phe/phy015

Millum, Joseph and Danielle Bromwich. “Respect for Persons.” In The Oxford Handbook of Research Ethics, edited by Ana Iltis and Douglas MacKay. New York: Oxford University Press, Forthcoming. DOI: 10.1093/oxfordhb/9780190947750.013.12

Morton, Rebecca, and Jonathan Rogers. “Religion, Experiments, and Ethical Concerns.” In Ethics and Experiments: Problems and Solutions for Social Scientists and Policy Professionals, edited by Scott Desposato, 66-80. New York: Routledge, 2016. Source.

Nielsen, Richard A. “Ethics for Experimental Manipulation of Religion.” In Ethics and Experiments: Problems and Solutions for Social Scientists and Policy Professionals, edited by Scott Desposato, 42-65. New York: Routledge, 2016. Source.

Teele, Dawn Langan. “Virtual Consent: The Bronze Standard for Experimental Ethics.” In Advances in Experimental Political Science, edited by James N. Druckman and Donald P. Green, 130-145. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2021. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108777919

 

Fair Subject Selection

MacKay, Douglas. “Fair Subject Selection in Clinical and Social Scientific Research.” In The Oxford Handbook of Research Ethics, edited by Ana S. Iltis and Douglas MacKay. New York: Oxford University Press, 2018. DOI: 10.1093/oxfordhb/9780190947750.013.14

 

Community Engagement

Davis, Justine M. “Manipulating Africa? Perspectives on the Experimental Method in the Study of African Politics.” African Affairs 119, no. 476 (2020): 452-467. https://doi.org/10.1093/afraf/adaa009

Ouma, Marion. “Trust, Legitimacy and Community Perceptions on Randomisation of Cash Transfers.” CODESRIA Bulletin, no. 1 (2020): 25-29. Source

 

Researcher Obligations and Ethics of Partnerships

Kaplan, Lennart, Jana Kuhnt and Janina I. Steinert. “Do No Harm? Field Research in the Global South: Ethical Challenges Faced by Research Staff.” World Development 127 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.worlddev.2019.104810

Nickerson, David W., and Susan D. Hyde. “Conducting Research with NGOs: Relevant Counterfactuals From the Perspective of Subjects.” In Ethics and Experiments: Problems and Solutions for Social Scientists and Policy Professionals, edited by Scott Desposato, 198-216. New York: Routledge, 2016. Source.

Steinert, Janina Isabel, David Atika Nyarige, Milan Jacobi, Jana Kuhnt, and Lennart Kaplan. “A Systematic Review on Ethical Challenges of ‘Field’ Research in Low- and Middle-Income Countries: Respect, Justice and Beneficence for Research Staff.” BMJ Global Health 6 (2021): e005380. http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmjgh-2021-005380

Wilson, Rick K., William Mishler, and John Ishiyama. “Journal Editors as Ethics Sheriffs.” In Ethics and Experiments: Problems and Solutions for Social Scientists and Policy Professionals, edited by Scott Desposato, 262-266. New York: Routledge, 2016. Source.

Zechmeister, Elizabeth J. “Ethics and Research in Political Science: The Responsibilities of the Researcher and the Profession.” In Ethics and Experiments: Problems and Solutions for Social Scientists and Policy Professionals, edited by Scott Desposato, 255-261. New York: Routledge, 2016. Source.

 

Institutional Review

Aguilar, Rosario. “Ethical Perspectives in Countries Without an Institutional Review Board.” In Ethics and Experiments: Problems and Solutions for Social Scientists and Policy Professionals, edited by Scott Desposato, 139-148. New York: Routledge, 2016. Source.

Cunow, Saul, and Desposato, Scott. “Local Review: Confronting the Brazilian Black Box.” In Ethics and Experiments: Problems and Solutions for Social Scientists and Policy Professionals, edited by Scott Desposato, 128-138. New York: Routledge, 2016. Source.

Lü, Xiaobo, “Ethical Challenges in Comparative Politics Experiments in China.” In Ethics and Experiments: Problems and Solutions for Social Scientists and Policy Professionals, edited by Scott Desposato, 113-127. New York: Routledge, 2016. Source.

Merolla, Jennifer L., and Raul Madrid Jr. “The Value and Challenges of Using Local Ethical Review in Comparative Politics Experiments.” In Ethics and Experiments: Problems and Solutions for Social Scientists and Policy Professionals, edited by Scott Desposato, 99-112. New York: Routledge, 2016. Source.

Hemming, Karla, Monica Taljaard, Tom Marshall, Cory E. Goldstein and Charles Weijer. “Stepped-Wedge Trials Should be Classified as Research for the Purpose of Ethical Review.” Clinical Trials 16, no. 6 (2019): 580-588. DOI: 10.1177/1740774519873322

O’Flynn, Peter, Chris Barnett, and Laura Camfield. “Assessing Contrasting Strategies for Ensuring Ethical Practice Within Evaluation: Institutional Review Boards and Professionalism.” Journal of Development Effectiveness 8, no. 4 (2016): 561-568. https://doi.org/10.1080/19439342.2016.1242643

Seligson, Mitchell A. “Human Subjects Protection and Large-N Research.” In Ethics and Experiments: Problems and Solutions for Social Scientists and Policy Professionals, edited by Scott Desposato, 241-254. New York: Routledge, 2016. Source.

Watson, Samuel I., Mary Dixon-Woods, Celia A. Taylor, Emily B. Wroe, Elizabeth L. Dunbar, Peter J. Chilton, and Richard J. Lilford. “Revising Ethical Guidance for the Evaluation of Programmes and Interventions not Initiated by Researchers.” Journal of Medical Ethics 46, no. 1 (2020): 26-30. http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/medethics-2018-105263

Weijer, Charles, and Monica Taljaard. “Ottawa Statement does not Impede Randomised Evaluation of Government Health Programmes.” Journal of Medical Ethics 46, no. 1 (2020): 31-33. http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/medethics-2019-105938