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 Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 4540.
Length: 14 pages
Date of creation: Oct 2009
Date of revision:
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Other versions of this item:
- Falk, Armin & Heckman, James J, 2010. "Lab Experiments are a Major Source of Knowledge in the Social Sciences," CEPR Discussion Papers, C.E.P.R. 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," CESifo Working Paper Series 2894, CESifo Group Munich.
- Armin Falk & James J. Heckman, 2009. "Lab Experiments are a Major Source of Knowledge in the Social Sciences," Working Papers, Geary Institute, University College Dublin 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
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2009-11-14 (All new papers)
- NEP-CBE-2009-11-14 (Cognitive & Behavioural Economics)
- NEP-EXP-2009-11-14 (Experimental Economics)
- NEP-HPE-2009-11-14 (History & Philosophy of Economics)
- NEP-KNM-2009-11-14 (Knowledge Management & Knowledge Economy)
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- John List & David Reiley, 2008.
Artefactual Field Experiments
00091, The Field Experiments Website.
- Friedman,Daniel & Sunder,Shyam, 1994. "Experimental Methods," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521456821.
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