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The Role of Experiments for the Development of Economic Theories

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  • Klaus M. Schmidt

Abstract

Economic experiments interact with economic theories in various ways. First of all they are used to test economic theories. However, they can neither confirm nor falsify them in a strict sense. They rather inform us about the range of applicability, the robustness and the predictive power of a theory. Furthermore, economic experiments discover and isolate phenomena and challenge economic theorists to explain them. Finally, many economic experiments are "material" models. They are used to analyze and predict how changes in the environment affect economic outcomes. However, they cannot offer an explanation for what we observe. This has to be provided by economic theory. Copyright 2009 The Author Journal compilation 2009, Verein für Socialpolitik und Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

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Article provided by Verein für Socialpolitik in its journal Perspektiven der Wirtschaftspolitik.

Volume (Year): 10 (2009)
Issue (Month): s1 (05)
Pages: 14-30

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Handle: RePEc:bla:perwir:v:10:y:2009:i:s1:p:14-30

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  1. Dufwenberg, Martin & Heidhues, Paul & Kirchsteiger, Georg & Riedel, Frank & Sobel, Joel, 2008. "Other-Regarding Preferences in General Equilibrium," CEPR Discussion Papers 6815, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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  14. Engelmann,Dirk & Strobel,Martin, 2002. "Inequality Aversion, Efficiency, and Maximin Preferences in Simple Distribution Experiments," Research Memorandum 015, Maastricht University, Maastricht Economic Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
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  17. Mary Morgan, 2005. "Experiments versus models: New phenomena, inference and surprise," Journal of Economic Methodology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 12(2), pages 317-329.
  18. Abbink, Klaus & Irlenbusch, Bernd & Pezanis-Christou, Paul & Rockenbach, Bettina & Sadrieh, Abdolkarim & Selten, Reinhard, 2005. "An experimental test of design alternatives for the British 3G/UMTS auction," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 49(2), pages 505-530, February.
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Cited by:
  1. Fehr, Ernst & Schmidt, Klaus M., 2010. "On inequity aversion: A reply to Binmore and Shaked," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 73(1), pages 101-108, January.
  2. Dorothea Kübler, 2010. "Experimental Practices in Economics: Performativity and the Creation of Phenomena," CIG Working Papers SP II 2010-01, Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin (WZB), Research Unit: Competition and Innovation (CIG).

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