The Most Bizarre Line I’ve Read in a Long Time…

by Don Boudreaux on October 18, 2012

in Hubris and humility, Other People's Money

… appears on pages 46-47 of a 2007 Journal of Economic Perspectives article – “Repugnance as a Constraint on Markets” – by new Nobel laureate Alvin Roth (HT Greg Mankiw).  The bizarre – or, actually to me, maddening – line isn’t from Roth (His essay is excellent); rather, the line is Roth’s summary of a conclusion from a 2001 report of the National Bioethics Advisory Commission.  Here’s the passage (footnote omitted; emphasis added):

The National Bioethics Advisory Commission (2001), writes that paying subjects to participate in medical experiments may be coercive.  They go on to say that, if an institutional review board is concerned that the subjects in an experiment may be economically disadvantaged, it may require that the researchers reduce the payments they make to participants.  The concern here is … to protect low-income participants from being faced with such a high participation fee that they would feel coerced to participate.

Chew on them ethics and economics.

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