Controversies Section Editor: Phil B. Fontanarosa,
MD, Executive Deputy Editor.
Author Affiliations: Departments of Psychiatry
(Dr Dunn) and Economics (Dr Gordon), University of California, San Diego,
and National Bureau of Economic Research, Cambridge, Mass (Dr Gordon).
The use of financial compensation as a recruitment tool in medical research
continues to be debated on ethical grounds. Critics are against economic or
market models, in which market forces determine payment practices, primarily
because of the perceived undue inducement potential1- 11 and
on other grounds,1,12 including
that participants from lower socioeconomic levels bear a disproportionate
share of the research burden.3 Many of these
arguments apply not only to the purest market model but to any model in which
compensation to participants exceeds some threshold. We argue that economic
forces operate regardless of how investigators choose to compensate participants.
Thus, it is imperative that investigators acknowledge these forces and design
compensation schemes that explicitly take economic forces into account.
Dunn LB, Gordon NE. Improving Informed Consent and Enhancing Recruitment for Research by Understanding Economic Behavior. JAMA. 2005;293(5):609-612. doi:10.1001/jama.293.5.609