(Accessed 1 Feb 2020)
When money talks: Judging risk and coercion in high-paying clinical trials
Christina Leuker, Lasare Samartzidis, Ralph Hertwig, Timothy J. Pleskac
Research Article | published 31 Jan 2020 PLOS ONE
Millions of volunteers take part in clinical trials every year. This is unsurprising, given that clinical trials are often much more lucrative than other types of unskilled work. When clinical trials offer very high pay, however, some people consider them repugnant. To understand why, we asked 1,428 respondents to evaluate a hypothetical medical trial for a new Ebola vaccine offering three different payment amounts. Some respondents (27%) used very high pay (£10,000) as a cue to infer the potential risks the clinical trial posed. These respondents were also concerned that offering £10,000 was coercive— simply too profitable to pass up. Both perceived risk and coercion in high-paying clinical trials shape how people evaluate these trials. This result was robust within and between respondents. The link between risk and repugnance may generalize to other markets in which parties are partially remunerated for the risk they take and contributes to a more complete understanding of why some market transactions appear repugnant.