I. Glenn Cohen & D. James Greiner, From Medical Experimentation to Non-Medical Experimentation: What Can and Cannot Be Learned from Medicine as to the Ethics of Legal and Other Non-Medical Experiments?, in Charles Fried, Medical Experimentation: Personal Integrity and Social Policy: New Edition 192 (Franklin Miller & Alan Wertheimer eds., Oxford Univ. Press 2016).
Abstract: After an appreciation of the contribution of the main text to the clarification and deepening of the utility and dilemmas of randomized clinical trials (RCTs) in medicine, this chapter notes the present ubiquity of RCTs in, for instance, social welfare programs, labor economics, education, political science, sociology, and law, several of which are discussed in detail. The chapter notes ways in which these are and are not like RCTs in the context of medical care. In several of the law examples, such as randomizing bail conditions and assigning lawyers to meet legal needs of low-income individuals, none of the subjects of the research are (yet) in a client relationship similar to that of a patient, and so there is no analogous duty on the part of the experimenters. It is an allocation of scarce resources in part carried out in a way that may yield more reliable knowledge.