The Power of Experiments: Decision-Making in a Data Driven World
by Michael Luca and Max H. Bazerman, MIT Press, 2020
The current pandemic is a dramatic case study in why experiments matter. How else are we to know which tests accurately identify COVID-19 infections and their telltale antibodies, whether and how well drugs already at our disposal mitigate the suffering inflicted by the coronavirus, or whether the vaccines currently in development will actually protect us from it? Randomized controlled trials are the only way to answer these questions short of playing Russian roulette with the lives of large numbers of people.
Experiments have been around for a long time. In The Power of Experiments, an introductory paean to the benefits of experimentation for corporate and government decision making, Harvard Business School professors Michael Luca and Max Bazerman peg the first recorded experiment to the reign of King Nebuchadnezzar in