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Trial registries offer researchers the chance to upload and timestamp their study designs before they have been conducted. The aim of these registries is to build research transparency by reducing selective reporting and provide researchers with an overview of ongoing studies in their field. While trial registration is commonplace in the clinical health trials (see, for example,, their use in development economics is more recent.


Where can I register?

The American Economic Association (AEA) hosts a trial registry specifically for randomized controlled trials[1]. The international Initiative for Impact Evaluation (3ie) provides a registry for experimental and quasi-experimental research in developing countries [2].

What information should be included?

The information required for registering a trial typically includes the country and title, a brief description of the project, timeline, outcomes, sample size, study design, and ethical approval details. Some of the details provided can be uploaded and time stamped, but hidden from public view prior to study completion. A pre-analysis plan can be uploaded providing a detailed description of how the analysis will be conducted, but this is typically not mandatory for registration.

When should I register?

While clinical trials in health are expected to be registered before patient enrolment [3], there is currently no formal requirement for development economics trials to be registered by a particular stage of the research. In cases where intervention delivery is uncertain, development economics researchers wait to register their trials after baseline and interventions have been completed, but before any follow up data collection or analysis [4].

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This article is part of the topic Research Ethics