When this year’s Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences was awarded to three pioneers in using randomized controlled trials to fight poverty in developing countries, the choice revived questions about the ethics of the method. Three questions, in particular, need to be addressed.
Peter Singer is Professor of Bioethics at Princeton University, Laureate Professor in the School of Historical and Philosophical Studies at the University of Melbourne, and founder of the non-profit organization The Life You Can Save. His books include Animal Liberation, Practical Ethics, The Ethics of What We Eat (with Jim Mason), Rethinking Life and Death, The Point of View of the Universe, co-authored with Katarzyna de Lazari-Radek, The Most Good You Can Do, Famine, Affluence, and Morality, One World Now, Ethics in the Real World, and Utilitarianism: A Very Short Introduction, also with Katarzyna de Lazari-Radek. In 2013, he was named the world’s third “most influential contemporary thinker” by the Gottlieb Duttweiler Institute.
Arthur Baker is a research associate at the Center for Global Development.
Johannes Haushofer is a professor of Psychology and Public Affairs at Princeton University.