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

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

October 2015 AER

October 2015 AEJ: Macro

October 2015 AEJ: Applied

September 2015 JEL

Summer 2015 JEP

August 2015 AEJ: Policy

August 2015 AEJ: Micro

Virtual Field Journals

In the News:

Bloomberg covered a July article in the American Economic Review by Heidi Williams, who was recently named a 2015 MacArthur Fellow. In "Do Firms Underinvest in Long-Term Research? Evidence from Cancer Clinical Trials," Williams and her coauthors find evidence that cancer pharmaceutical research is distorted toward projects with short-term payoffs. See our highlight of the paper here.

A recent study on the relationship between new roads and traffic from the American Economic Review was cited in The Atlantic. In The Fundamental Law of Road Congestion: Evidence from US Cities, authors Gilles Duration and Matthew Turner find that new lanes on interstate highways and other major roads are quickly filled with new cars and trucks and do not tend to reduce congestion. They conclude that congestion pricing, rather than roadway construction, is the most promising tool for combating persistent traffic.

Three articles on the future of automation and labor markets from last month's Journal of Economic Perspectives symposium were featured on the Free Exchange Blog in the Economist.

The Economist highlighted a new paper in the American Economic Journal: Applied Economics about peer effects on high school students. In The Girl Next Door: The Effect of Opposite Gender Friends on High School Achievement, author Andrew Hill takes advantage of the fact that some students happen to live in neighborhoods with more schoolmates of the opposite gender. He finds that having a higher share of opposite-gender friends lowers a student's GPA across a range of subjects.

FiveThirtyEight covered the ongoing debate over teacher evaluation, citing two companion papers that appeared together in the September 2014 issue of the American Economic Review. In "Measuring the Impacts of Teachers" I and II the authors construct "value-added" estimates for teachers in a large urban school district by observing how students' test scores change from year to year as they pass through each teacher's classroom. They find that their teacher value-added scores are not significantly biased and are potent predictors of students' later-life outcomes.

The Washington Post's Monkey Cage blog cited work by Dani Rodrik, including an article appearing in the Journal of Economic Perspectives last year. In When Ideas Trump Interests: Preferences, Worldviews, and Policy Innovations, Rodrik argues that "policy entrepreneurship" – the creation and spread of new public policy ideas in the political marketplace – should be taken more seriously by economists.

Wonkblog covered an article published this month in the American Economic Journal: Applied Economics. In Saving Lives at Birth: The Impact of Home Births on Infant Outcomes the authors study a sample of over 300,000 Dutch women and find that home birth increases the risk of newborn mortality, especially for low-income women, likely because of reduced access to medical technologies after delivery.

A Wall Street Journal analysis of potential merger activity in the health insurance industry cited a study published in the American Economic Review. In "Paying a Premium on Your Premium? Consolidation in the US Health Insurance Industry," the authors found that a 1999 merger between two large U.S. health insurers drove up customer premiums and depressed doctors' earnings in certain parts of the country.

AEA in News Archive

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