The 2nd Annual Public Issues and Public Reason Conference hosted by the Ethics and Public Affairs program, is happening November 8th and 9th at Carleton University.

Location:  270 Residence Commons

Dr. Douglas MacKay (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill) will give the keynote address entitled “Government Policy Experiments and the Ethics of Randomization.”


Governments and international organizations are increasingly relying on randomized controlled trials (RCTs) to evaluate public policy interventions in the areas of health, education, housing, and poverty alleviation. Unfortunately, ethical reflection on the use of RCTs in these contexts has not kept pace with their deployment. Investigators, Institutional Review Boards (IRBs), and government agencies face a number of ethical questions regarding the design of these studies but have few resources to draw on. In this paper, I explore the conditions under which it is permissible for governments to distribute access to promising policy interventions by random allocation. While randomization is necessary if policy experiments are to yield high quality evidence regarding the interventions under study, it must also be fair if such experiments are to be ethical.

Further information can be found on the EPAF website:

All are welcome!