This article summarizes the 2019 Nobel Price in Economics" What randomisation can and cannot do: The 2019 Nobel Prize
Their critique of randomized controlled trials (RCT) is three-fold:
- They make no specific claim about external validity.
- In economics it requires a pre-existing system the study is embedded within. In a plumbing metaphor, the studies focus on problems in existing plumbing–not upon how to engineer and install a system.
- Optimal experimental design is generally not an RCT.
From a statistical point of view, #1 is drilled into practitioners. For #2 in bio-statistics, we’re not in the business of architecting a new human so it’s not that relevant. But for claim #3, I’m not familiar with this.
Poking at it further the article says, “When sample size is low, the optimal study is deterministic, not randomised”. Part of the justification for this is that what they study is a network of interactions and it’s difficult to control for “spillover” between subjects. A Theory of Experimenters
I feel like simulation study is in order. Thoughts? Discussion?