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Research Ethics. Kenny Ajayi October 6, 2008. Global Poverty and Impact Evaluation. Econometric Resources. Duflo, Esther, Rachel Glennerster, and Michael Kremer. Using Randomization in Development Economics Research : A Toolkit. Poverty Action Lab White Paper, MIT Wooldridge, Jeffrey.

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research ethics

ResearchEthics

Kenny Ajayi

October 6, 2008

Global Poverty and Impact Evaluation

econometric resources
Econometric Resources
  • Duflo, Esther, Rachel Glennerster, and Michael Kremer.
    • Using Randomization in Development Economics Research: A Toolkit. Poverty Action Lab White Paper, MIT
  • Wooldridge, Jeffrey.
    • Introductory Econometrics: A Modern Approach
research ethics1
Research Ethics
  • Ethics
  • Group Projects
  • Guest Presentation: Robert Van Buskirk
ethical concerns1
Ethical Concerns
  • Fairness (in resource allocation)
  • Dangers (of unsuccessful programs)
dupas 2006
Dupas, 2006
  • HIV information for Kenyan teenagers
    • How effective is the current government program?
    • How effective would additional information be?
    • How responsive are teenagers to information on relative risks?
dupas 20061
Dupas, 2006
  • HIV information for Kenyan teenagers
    • National HIV Prevention Curriculum:
      • Abstinence
      • Average HIV prevalence in the population
      • Teacher reinforcement training
    • NGO Relative Risks Campaign:
      • Information on HIV prevalence disaggregated by gender and age group
      • Presentation by trained NGO officer
dupas 20062
Dupas, 2006
  • Statistics Provided by the NGO:
dupas 20063
Dupas, 2006
  • Statistics Provided by the NGO:
dupas 20064
Dupas, 2006
  • Statistics Provided by the NGO:
model risk information
Model: Risk Information
  • Risks
    • HIV infection for those who are not infected
    • Pregnancy for girls
  • Reduction Strategies
    • Abstinence
    • Condom use
model partner choice
Model: Partner Choice
  • Adult Men differ from Teenage Boys
    • Higher HIV Prevalence Rate
    • Greater Financial Resources
    • Derive relatively less utility from condom-protected sex
  • Girls choose sexual partners based on:
    • Perceived riskiness of partnership
    • Size of compensation transfer
information experiment
Information Experiment
  • Provide Relative Risks Information in a randomly selected subset of schools
    • Treatment Cohort: 13,000
      • 8th graders at time of campaign (2004)
    • Treatment Students: 2,500
      • Students enrolled in treatment schools during campaign
    • Comparison Cohort:
      • Students a year ahead of or below treatment cohort
empirical strategy
Empirical Strategy
  • Compare outcomes (Y) one year later
    • Self-reported sexual behavior
    • Childbearing and marital status
    • Characteristics of sexual partners of girls who had started childbearing
    • Unobserved (Z):
empirical strategy1
Empirical Strategy
  • Compare outcomes (Y) one year later
    • Self-reported sexual behavior
    • Childbearing and marital status
    • Characteristics of sexual partners of girls who had started childbearing
    • Unobserved (Z): HIV status of teenagers in sample
empirical strategy2
Empirical Strategy
  • Compare outcomes (Y) one year later
    • Self-reported sexual behavior
    • Childbearing and marital status
    • Characteristics of sexual partners of girls who had started childbearing
    • Unobserved (Z): HIV status of teenagers in sample
  • How reliable are these outcome measures?
ethical concerns2
Ethical Concerns
  • If we give people information on HIV, they respond with their behavior
  • Unethical to withhold information that we know is right, if it can be implemented.

but

  • Unethical to give out information that we are not sure is right, or may be misleading
ethics of not evaluating
Ethics of NOT Evaluating
  • Girls prefer to have sexual relationships with older men because these men can provide greater resources.
  • Girls might substitute away from sexual partnerships with older men if they knew about disaggregated HIV prevalence instead of just average prevalence rates.
results
Results
  • Significant Impacts
    • Increase in reported sexual activity
    • 65% decrease in incidence of pregnancies by adult partners
    • Decrease in HIV infection risk
    • Larger behavioral changes on the intensive margin (choice of partner and protection level) than on the extensive margin (choice of abstinence or not)
results1
Results
  • Spillover Effects
    • (using variation in density of treated students across secondary schools)
ethics of randomization
Ethics of Randomization
  • Deny control group the intervention, but:
    • Don’t actively hurt them
    • Don’t give wrong information
    • Don’t make them worse off than they would otherwise be
    • Can give a token gift/compensation (but small enough not to make it a treatment in itself)
ethics of randomization1
Ethics of Randomization
  • Ethics are less contested if:
    • Budget constraints would have prevented everyone from receiving the intervention anyway
    • Everyone eventually receives the intervention (i.e. phased-in rollout so that the control group is only left out initially)
    • Program provides basic treatment (or current best practices) for everybody
solutions to ethical concerns
Solutions to Ethical Concerns
  • Study Design
    • Phase-in (everybody eventually gets treatment)
    • Lottery (fair means to address budget constraints)
    • Encouragement (not a direct intervention)
    • Cluster (often less controversial than randomizing within clusters)
  • Human Subjects Protocol
conclusion
Conclusion
  • Ethics are important to consider even in information campaigns (and especially in HIV studies)
  • There are ways to address ethical concerns creatively
ad