AEA RCT Registry


The AEA has launched a new site to register randomized control trials (RCTs). The AEA encourages all investigators to register new and existing RCTs. Registration is entirely voluntary and is not currently linked to or required for submission and publication in the AEA journals.

The site is available at https://www.socialscienceregistry.org

On this site, you can register your forthcoming, ongoing, or even completed RCTs, with as little or as many details as you wish. The site will also permit you to store and make publicly-available additional information on your RCTs (reports, articles, data, and code). We believe that this will prove to be a very valuable resource for investigators to share their work and the site will be widely used by those who wish to find out about on-going and completed studies.

The registry is characterized by:

1) Simplicity and flexibility: Registering a trial is straightforward with only a minimal number of required fields. There is considerable flexibility to provide additional material at the time of registration or at any point in the life of the study. Materials can also be hidden from public view until completion of the study, or be made accessible only with the permission of the PI.

2) Adjustability and memory: Any registry entry can be amended by the PI at any point, but the registry keeps track of all versions.

3) Ability to work as a research portal for your RCTs: The registry can serve as an access point for collaborators, other scholars, students, and the general public providing links to data sets, survey instruments, experimental findings, and experimental protocols.

To register a trial, the PI simply needs to enter the following information: PI name, project title, study location, project status, keyword(s), abstract, trial start and end dates, intervention start and end dates, proposed outcome(s), experimental design, whether the treatment is clustered, planned number of clusters, planned number of observations, and IRB information. Optional fields allowing the PI to customize and enhance the information made available include details on sponsors and partners, survey instruments, an analysis plan, and other supporting documents. Help is available if the PI encounters any problem.

The AEA registry system will provide the PI with reminders to update the registration of an RCT at appropriate points in the trial's lifecycle. For example, the submitted end date will trigger an email asking the PI to enter post-trial information. If the trial has been extended, the PI can update the trial with the new end date.

We encourage you to explore the registry and to register your RCTs.

The committee on the registry for social experiments
Larry Katz (chair)
Esther Duflo
Pinelopi Goldberg
Duncan Thomas


Contents of Current Issues

Winter 2016 JEP

February 2016 AER

February 2016 AEJ: Policy

February 2016 AEJ: Micro

January 2016 AEJ: Macro

January 2016 AEJ: Applied

December 2015 JEL

Virtual Field Journals

In the News:

In a piece about the consequences of trade with China, the NYT Upshot blog covered a 2013 article from the American Economic Review. In The China Syndrome: Local Labor Market Effects of Import Competition in the United States, the authors compare different U.S. regions, some of which were exposed to new competition from Chinese imports during the 1990s and some of which were less affected thanks to a different industry mix. The more-exposed regions did see significantly more job losses over the 1990-2007 period, but the pain was eased by an increase flow of unemployment benefits and disability payments to these areas.

A recent episode of the Freakonomics podast about the gender pay gap cited past AEA president Claudia Goldin's 2014 presidential address. In A Grand Gender Convergence: Its Last Chapter, Goldin blames the bulk of the gender pay gap on firms' tendency to disproportionately reward employees who work very long hours, and who work particular hours. Certain sectors, like technology, science, and health, have been quicker to adopt new compensation schemes that are more flexible and less disadvantageous for part-time workers.

The Huffington Post covered a paper appearing in this month's issue of the American Economic Journal: Applied Economics. In The Contribution of the Minimum Wage to US Wage Inequality over Three Decades: A Reassessment, the authors use updated data and a new methodological approach to study the link between wage inequality and the minimum wage. They find that a higher real minimum wage can reduce inequality, but that the effect is "substantially less" powerful than previously thought.

BBC News covered an article in the American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics that takes a historical look at assassination attempts. In Hit or Miss? The Effect of Assassinations on Institutions and War, authors Benjamin Jones and Benjamin Olken find evidence that assassinations have had an impact on the growth of democracy and increased the intensity of wars, but also that successful assassination attempts are becoming more rare. The risk of assassination for heads of state peaked about 100 years ago but has fallen 70% since then.

In an article about tax subsidies for renewable energy sources, Vox cited a 2014 paper from the American Economic Review: Papers and Proceedings. In How Effective Are U.S. Renewable Energy Subsidies in Cutting Greenhouse Gases?, the authors conclude that two major subsidy programs have reduced U.S. carbon emissions by only 0.3%. The effect is smaller than might be expected in part because the subsidies reduce the price of gas to motorists, which in turn encourages more gasoline use and more emissions.

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