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"The Way in which an Experiment is Conducted is Unbelievably Important": On the Experimentation Practices of Economists and Psychologists

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  • Andreas Ortmann

Abstract

To discuss experimental results without discussing how they came about makes sense when the results are robust to the way experiments are conducted. Experimental results, however, are – arguably more often than not – sensitive to numerous design and implementation characteristics such as the use of financial incentives, deception, and the way information is presented. To the extent that economists and psychologists have different experimental practices, this claim is of obvious practical and interpretative relevance. In light of the empirical results summarized below, it seems warranted to say that it does not make sense to report experimental results without reporting the design and implementation choices that were made.

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Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 2887.

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Date of creation: 2009
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_2887

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Keywords: Duhem-Quine problem; experimental design; experimental implementation; financial incentives; deception;

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  1. Glenn Harrison & John List, 2004. "Field experiments," Artefactual Field Experiments 00058, The Field Experiments Website.
  2. Ignacio Palacios-Huerta & Oscar Volij, . "Field Centipedes," Economic theory and game theory, Oscar Volij 020, Oscar Volij.
  3. Smith, Vernon L, 1976. "Experimental Economics: Induced Value Theory," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 66(2), pages 274-79, May.
  4. Rydval, Ondrej & Ortmann, Andreas, 2004. "How financial incentives and cognitive abilities affect task performance in laboratory settings: an illustration," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 85(3), pages 315-320, December.
  5. Philip J. Reny, 1992. "Rationality in Extensive-Form Games," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 6(4), pages 103-118, Fall.
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  8. 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.
  9. Camerer, Colin F. & Hogarth, Robin M., 1999. "The Effects of Financial Incentives in Experiments: A Review and Capital-Labor-Production Framework," Working Papers, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences 1059, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
  10. Ondrej Rydval & Andreas Ortmann & Sasha Prokosheva & Ralph Hertwig, 2009. "How Certain Is the Uncertainty Effect?," CERGE-EI Working Papers wp385, The Center for Economic Research and Graduate Education - Economic Institute, Prague.
  11. Andreas Ortmann & Ralph Hertwig, 2001. "The Costs of Deception: Evidence From Psychology," CERGE-EI Working Papers wp191, The Center for Economic Research and Graduate Education - Economic Institute, Prague.
  12. Colin F. Camerer & Teck-Hua Ho & Juin-Kuan Chong, 2004. "A Cognitive Hierarchy Model of Games," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, MIT Press, vol. 119(3), pages 861-898, August.
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  16. Matthew Rabin., 1997. "Psychology and Economics," Economics Working Papers, University of California at Berkeley 97-251, University of California at Berkeley.
  17. repec:kap:expeco:v:5:y:2002:i:2:p:91-110 is not listed on IDEAS
  18. Glenn W. Harrison & Eric Johnson & Melayne M. McInnes & E. Elisabet Rutstr�m, 2005. "Risk Aversion and Incentive Effects: Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(3), pages 897-901, June.
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