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Artificiality: The tension between internal and external validity in economic experiments

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  • Arthur Schram

Abstract

The artificiality of a laboratory situation is placed in the context of the tension between external and internal validity. Most economists consider internal validity to be most important. A proper evaluation of the 'artificiality criticism' (a lack of external validity) requires distinguishing the various goals experimentalists pursue. External validity is relatively more important for experiments searching for empirical regularities than for theory-testing experiments. As experimental results are being used more often in the development of new theories, a methodological discussion of their external validity is becoming more important.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Taylor & Francis Journals in its journal Journal of Economic Methodology.

Volume (Year): 12 (2005)
Issue (Month): 2 ()
Pages: 225-237

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Handle: RePEc:taf:jecmet:v:12:y:2005:i:2:p:225-237

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Related research

Keywords: laboratory experiments; artificiality; internal validity; external validity;

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Cited by:
  1. John List, 2006. "Field experiments: A bridge between lab and naturally occurring data," Artefactual Field Experiments 00083, The Field Experiments Website.
  2. Schram, Arthur & Sonnemans, Joep, 2011. "How individuals choose health insurance: An experimental analysis," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 55(6), pages 799-819, August.
  3. Sandra Maximiano & Randolph Sloof & Joep Sonnemans, 2007. "Gift Exchange in a Multi-Worker Firm," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 117(522), pages 1025-1050, 07.
  4. Zizzo, Daniel John, 2013. "Claims and confounds in economic experiments," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 93(C), pages 186-195.
  5. Gerxhani, Klarita & Schram, Arthur, 2006. "Tax evasion and income source: A comparative experimental study," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 27(3), pages 402-422, June.
  6. Klarita Gerxhani & Jordi Brandts & Arthur Schram, 2011. "The Emergence of Social Structure: Employer Information Networks in an Experimental Labor Market," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 11-032/1, Tinbergen Institute.
  7. Arno Riedl & Frans van Winden, 0000. "An Experimental Investigation of Wage Taxation and Unemployment in Closed and Open Economies," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 00-112/1, Tinbergen Institute.
  8. Fiore, Annamaria, 2009. "Experimental Economics: Some Methodological Notes," MPRA Paper 12498, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  9. Muller, Sean, 2014. "Randomised trials for policy: a review of the external validity of treatment effects," SALDRU Working Papers 127, Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit, University of Cape Town.
  10. Daniel John Zizzo, 2011. "Do dictator games measure altruism?," Working Paper series, University of East Anglia, Centre for Behavioural and Experimental Social Science (CBESS) 12-03, School of Economics, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK..
  11. Schilizzi, Steven & Latacz-Lohmann, Uwe, 2009. "Predicting the performance of conservation tenders when information on bidders's costs is limited," 2009 Conference (53rd), February 11-13, 2009, Cairns, Australia 48171, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society.
  12. Guala, Francesco & Mittone, Luigi & Ploner, Matteo, 2013. "Group membership, team preferences, and expectations," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 86(C), pages 183-190.
  13. Antonio Cabrales & Rosemarie Nagel & José Rodríguez Mora, 2012. "It is Hobbes, not Rousseau: an experiment on voting and redistribution," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 15(2), pages 278-308, June.
  14. Musshoff, Oliver & Maart-Noelck, Syster Christin, 2014. "An experimental analysis of the behavior of forestry decision-makers — The example of timing in sales decisions," Forest Policy and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 31-39.

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