Economics at your fingertips  

A new perspective on the issue of selection bias in randomized controlled field experiments

Michèle Belot () and Jonathan James

Economics Letters, 2014, vol. 124, issue 3, 326-328

Abstract: Many randomized controlled trials require participants to opt in. 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.

Keywords: Field experiments; Selection bias; Randomized controlled trials; External validity (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C4 C9 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2014
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations: View citations in EconPapers (4) Track citations by RSS feed

Downloads: (external link)
Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

Related works:
Working Paper: A New Perspective on the Issue of Selection Bias into Randomized Controlled Field Experiments (2014) Downloads
This item may be available elsewhere in EconPapers: Search for items with the same title.

Export reference: BibTeX RIS (EndNote, ProCite, RefMan) HTML/Text

Persistent link:

DOI: 10.1016/j.econlet.2014.06.001

Access Statistics for this article

Economics Letters is currently edited by Economics Letters Editorial Office

More articles in Economics Letters from Elsevier
Bibliographic data for series maintained by Catherine Liu ().

Page updated 2023-06-15
Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolet:v:124:y:2014:i:3:p:326-328