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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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Bibliographic Info

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. Fehr, Ernst & Klein, Alexander & Schmidt, Klaus M., 2005. "Fairness and Contract Design," Discussion Paper Series of SFB/TR 15 Governance and the Efficiency of Economic Systems 67, Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University of Berlin, University of Bonn, University of Mannheim, University of Munich.
  2. Georg Kirchsteiger & Ernst Fehr & Arno Riedl, 1993. "Does Fairness Prevent Market Clearing? An Experimental Investigation," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/5927, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  3. Martin Dufwenberg & Paul Heidhues & Georg Kirchsteiger & Frank Riedel & Joel Sobel, 2011. "Other-Regarding Preferences in General Equilibrium," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 78(2), pages 613-639.
  4. M. Rabin, 2001. "Incorporating Fairness into Game Theory and Economics," Levine's Working Paper Archive 511, David K. Levine.
  5. Gary Charness & Matthew Rabin, 2003. "Understanding Social Preferences with Simple Tests," General Economics and Teaching 0303002, EconWPA.
  6. David K Levine, 1997. "Modeling Altruism and Spitefulness in Experiments," Levine's Working Paper Archive 2047, David K. Levine.
  7. 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).
  8. Ernst Fehr & Klaus M. Schmidt, 1999. "A Theory Of Fairness, Competition, And Cooperation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 114(3), pages 817-868, August.
  9. Guala,Francesco, 2005. "The Methodology of Experimental Economics," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521618618, October.
  10. Mary Morgan, 2005. "Experiments versus models: New phenomena, inference and surprise," Journal of Economic Methodology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 12(2), pages 317-329.
  11. Vernon L. Smith, 1962. "An Experimental Study of Competitive Market Behavior," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 70, pages 111.
  12. Dufwenberg, M. & Kirchsteiger, G., 1998. "A Theory of Sequential Reciprocity," Discussion Paper 1998-37, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  13. Falk, Armin & Fehr, Ernst & Zehnder, Christian, 2005. "The Behavioral Effects of Minimum Wages," IZA Discussion Papers 1625, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  14. Falk, Armin & Fischbacher, Urs, 2006. "A theory of reciprocity," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 54(2), pages 293-315, February.
  15. Holt, Charles A & Langan, Loren W & Villamil, Anne P, 1986. "Market Power in Oral Double Auctions," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 24(1), pages 107-23, January.
  16. Smith, Vernon L & Suchanek, Gerry L & Williams, Arlington W, 1988. "Bubbles, Crashes, and Endogenous Expectations in Experimental Spot Asset Markets," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(5), pages 1119-51, September.
  17. Andreoni, James, 1989. "Giving with Impure Altruism: Applications to Charity and Ricardian Equivalence," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(6), pages 1447-58, December.
  18. Klaus Abbink & Bernd Irlenbusch & Paul Pezanis-Christou & Bettina Rockenbach & Abdolkarim Sadrieh & Reinhard Selten, 2001. "An Experimental Test of Design Alternatives for the British 3G / UMTS Auction," Bonn Econ Discussion Papers bgse25_2001, University of Bonn, Germany.
  19. Axel Ockenfels & Gary E. Bolton, 2000. "ERC: A Theory of Equity, Reciprocity, and Competition," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(1), pages 166-193, March.
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Cited by:
  1. Fehr, Ernst & Schmidt, Klaus M., 2010. "On inequity aversion: A reply to Binmore and Shaked," Munich Reprints in Economics 20653, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  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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