Lab Experiments are a Major Source of Knowledge in the Social Sciences
AbstractLaboratory experiments are a widely used methodology for advancing causal knowledge in the physical and life sciences. With the exception of psychology, the adoption of laboratory experiments has been much slower in the social sciences, although during the last two decades, the use of lab experiments has accelerated. Nonetheless, there remains considerable resistance among social scientists who argue that lab experiments lack ‘realism’ and ‘generalizability’. In this article we discuss the advantages and limitations of laboratory social science experiments by comparing them to research based on non-experimental data and to field experiments. We argue that many recent objections against lab experiments are misguided and that even more lab experiments should be conducted.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 2894.
Date of creation: 2009
Date of revision:
laboratory experiments; field experiments; controlled variation;
Other versions of this item:
- Falk, Armin & Heckman, James J., 2009. "Lab Experiments Are a Major Source of Knowledge in the Social Sciences," IZA Discussion Papers 4540, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
- Falk, Armin & Heckman, James J, 2010. "Lab Experiments are a Major Source of Knowledge in the Social Sciences," CEPR Discussion Papers 7620, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Armin Falk & James J. Heckman, 2009. "Lab Experiments are a Major Source of Knowledge in the Social Sciences," Working Papers 200935, Geary Institute, University College Dublin.
- C90 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - General
- C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
- C92 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Group Behavior
- C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments
- D00 - Microeconomics - - General - - - General
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- Glenn W. Harrison & John A. List, 2004.
Journal of Economic Literature,
American Economic Association, vol. 42(4), pages 1009-1055, December.
- Friedman,Daniel & Sunder,Shyam, 1994. "Experimental Methods," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521456821, October.
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