It’s hard to read a paper these days related to development economics or health interventions without an RCT. Ideas for RCTs pop into my head on at least a daily basis. The focus on causal identification and answerable questions in the field means that RCTs are all the rage, and the American Economics Association wants you to know that they’re all in support of it. To do their part, the AEA sent out an email last night about a new registry for RCTs, which is likely overdue. Clinical trial registries are common in other fields, in fact, the US government hosts its own, and it seems to work much better than other government websites that have been getting attention lately.
I searched both registries for “domestic violence”. Clinicaltrials.gov gave me 84 trials in various stages of recruiting, in progress, and completed, most of which seemed relevant to my search, although not all will have easily testable social science implications. The great thing about registering social science RCTs is that you know they’re designed with social science questions in mind. My search of the same terms on Socialscienceregistry.com found me three studies, of which only one was relevant, but I’ll cut them some slack for inviting AEA members to contribute only recently (I also happen to know that not many RCTs addressing domestic violence have been done). A similar search on intimate partner violence brought up a lot of studies referring to research partners. So, the search function is a little slow and very clunky, which will only get worse as more studies are added, but I do think it’s a good idea, overall.