Paying research participants — a lot — may be a key to increasing diversity in studies

Paying people to participate in medical research has been proposed as a way to narrow racial and ethnic gaps in who signs up for clinical trials and other research studies. But a new study finds that if the amount is too small, it could have the opposite effect.

Offering $100 to participate in a Covid-19 study enticed affluent and white people while doing little to increase the participation of people from low-income or non-white households. A $500 incentive closed the participation gap completely, however, according to the study, which was released today by economists seeking ways to improve equity in clinical research.

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