Bioethics 25 (4):209-219 (2011)

Trisha Phillips
Mississippi State University
Offering cash payments to research subjects is a common recruiting method but there is significant debate about whether and in what amount such payments are appropriate. This paper is concerned with exploitation and whether there should be a lower limit on the amount researchers can pay their subjects. When subjects participate in research as a way to make money, fairness requires that researchers pay them a fair wage. This call for the establishment of a lower limit meets resistance in two places: (1) denial that the payments offered by researchers are wages for participation; and (2) concern about undue inducement. This paper critically examines these arguments for and against a lower limit. It shows that the need for a lower limit cannot be avoided by adopting a non-wage payment model and that concerns about undue inducement are unjustified in all trials except those that present greater than minimal risk. This analysis suggests the following compromise position: there should be an unconditional lower limit on payment amounts so that researchers cannot offer less than a fair wage, and when researchers cannot satisfy this limit because fairness requires a problematically large payment, then researchers should offer no payment at all
Keywords clinical trials  research ethics  payments  inducements  undue inducements  exploitation  justice
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1111/j.1467-8519.2009.01717.x
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 64,178
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

A Living Wage for Research Subjects.Trisha B. Phillips - 2011 - Journal of Law, Medicine and Ethics 39 (2):243-253.

View all 8 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles


Added to PP index

Total views
56 ( #192,185 of 2,455,085 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #449,153 of 2,455,085 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes