A New Perspective on the Issue of Selection Bias into Randomized Controlled Field Experiments

Michele Belot, Jonathan James

Research output: Working paper / PreprintWorking paper

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Abstract

Most randomized controlled trials require the collaboration of field partners. Such self-selection could introduce a potential bias, because only the most optimistic may participate. We revisit this prediction. We argue that in many situations, the experimental intervention is competing with alternative interventions participants could conduct themselves outside the experiment. Since participants have a chance of being assigned to the control group, participating has a direct opportunity cost, which is likely to be higher for optimists. We propose a model of self-selection and show that both pessimists and optimists may opt out of the experiment, leading to an ambiguous selection bias.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationBath, U. K.
PublisherDepartment of Economics, University of Bath
Publication statusPublished - 2014

Publication series

NameBath Economics Research Working Papers
No.23/14

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