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So you want to run an experiment, now what? Some Simple Rules of Thumb for Optimal Experimental Design

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  • John A. List
  • Sally Sadoff
  • Mathis Wagner

Abstract

Experimental economics represents a strong growth industry. In the past several decades the method has expanded beyond intellectual curiosity, now meriting consideration alongside the other more traditional empirical approaches used in economics. Accompanying this growth is an influx of new experimenters who are in need of straightforward direction to make their designs more powerful. This study provides several simple rules of thumb that researchers can apply to improve the efficiency of their experimental designs. We buttress these points by including empirical examples from the literature.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Collegio Carlo Alberto in its series Carlo Alberto Notebooks with number 125.

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Length: 22 pages
Date of creation: 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cca:wpaper:125

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References

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  1. Camerer, Colin F. & Hogarth, Robin M., 1999. "The Effects of Financial Incentives in Experiments: A Review and Capital-Labor-Production Framework," Working Papers 1059, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
  2. John A. List, 2001. "Do Explicit Warnings Eliminate the Hypothetical Bias in Elicitation Procedures? Evidence from Field Auctions for Sportscards," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(5), pages 1498-1507, December.
  3. Jinyong Hahn & Keisuke Hirano & Dean Karlan, 2009. "Adaptive Experimental Design Using the Propensity Score," Working Papers 969, Economic Growth Center, Yale University.
  4. Steven D. Levitt & John A. List, 2008. "Field Experiments in Economics: The Past, The Present, and The Future," NBER Working Papers 14356, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. repec:feb:artefa:0090 is not listed on IDEAS
  6. Harrison, Glenn W. & Lau, Morten I. & Elisabet Rutström, E., 2009. "Risk attitudes, randomization to treatment, and self-selection into experiments," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 70(3), pages 498-507, June.
  7. Dean Karlan & John List, 2006. "Does price matter in charitable giving? Evidence from a large-scale natural field experiment," Natural Field Experiments 00279, The Field Experiments Website.
  8. El-Gamal, Mahmoud A & Palfrey, Thomas R, 1996. "Economical Experiments: Bayesian Efficient Experimental Design," International Journal of Game Theory, Springer, vol. 25(4), pages 495-517.
  9. Rutström, E. Elisabet & Wilcox, Nathaniel T., 2009. "Stated beliefs versus inferred beliefs: A methodological inquiry and experimental test," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 67(2), pages 616-632, November.
  10. Lenth R. V., 2001. "Some Practical Guidelines for Effective Sample Size Determination," The American Statistician, American Statistical Association, vol. 55, pages 187-193, August.
  11. Richard Blundell & Monica Costa Dias, 2008. "Alternative approaches to evaluation in empirical microeconomics," CeMMAP working papers CWP26/08, Centre for Microdata Methods and Practice, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  12. John A. List, 2007. "Field Experiments: A Bridge Between Lab and Naturally-Occurring Data," NBER Working Papers 12992, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Steven D. Levitt & John A. List, 2007. "What Do Laboratory Experiments Measuring Social Preferences Reveal About the Real World?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 21(2), pages 153-174, Spring.
  14. Glenn Harrison & John List, 2004. "Field experiments," Artefactual Field Experiments 00058, The Field Experiments Website.
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Cited by:
  1. Cason, Timothy N. & Gangadharan, Lata, 2013. "Empowering neighbors versus imposing regulations: An experimental analysis of pollution reduction schemes," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 65(3), pages 469-484.
  2. Bellemare, Marc F., 2010. "As You Sow, So Shall You Reap: The Welfare Impacts of Contract Farming," MPRA Paper 27259, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  3. Bandiera, Oriana & Barankay, Iwan & Rasul, Imran, 2011. "Field Experiments with Firms," CEPR Discussion Papers 8412, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Omar Al-Ubaydli & John A. List, 2013. "On the Generalizability of Experimental Results in Economics: With A Response To Camerer," NBER Working Papers 19666, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Johannes Ledolter, 2013. "Economic Field Experiments: Comments on Design Efficiency, Sample Size and Statistical Power," Journal of Economics and Management, College of Business, Feng Chia University, Taiwan, vol. 9(2), pages 271-290, July.
  6. Omar Al-Ubaydli & John A. List, 2013. "On the Generalizability of Experimental Results in Economics: With a Response to Commentors," CESifo Working Paper Series 4543, CESifo Group Munich.
  7. Goeschl, Timo & Jarke, Johannes, 2013. "Non-Strategic Punishment when Monitoring is Costly: Experimental Evidence on Differences between Second and Third Party Behavior," Working Papers 0545, University of Heidelberg, Department of Economics.
  8. Sule Alan & Ruxandra Dumitrescu & Gyongyi Loranth, 2011. "Subprime Consumer Credit Demand: Evidence from a Lender?sPricing Experiment," BCL working papers 60, Central Bank of Luxembourg.

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