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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 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 15701.

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Date of creation: Jan 2010
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Publication status: published as John List & Sally Sadoff & Mathis Wagner, 2011. "So you want to run an experiment, now what? Some simple rules of thumb for optimal experimental design," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 14(4), pages 439-457, November.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:15701

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References

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  1. John List & David Reiley, 2008. "Field experiments," Artefactual Field Experiments 00091, The Field Experiments Website.
  2. Dean Karlan & John A. List, 2006. "Does Price Matter in Charitable Giving? Evidence from a Large-Scale Natural Field Experiment," Working Papers 1, The Field Experiments Website.
  3. 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.
  4. John List, 2001. "Do explicit warnings eliminate the hypothetical bias in elicitation procedures? Evidence from field auctions for sportscards," Framed Field Experiments 00163, The Field Experiments Website.
  5. Glenn Harrison & Morten Lau & Elisabet Rutstrom, 2005. "Risk attitudes, randomization to treatment, and self-selection into experiments," Artefactual Field Experiments 00061, The Field Experiments Website.
  6. Richard Blundell & Monica Costa Dias, 2009. "Alternative Approaches to Evaluation in Empirical Microeconomics," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 44(3).
  7. 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.
  8. repec:feb:artefa:0090 is not listed on IDEAS
  9. List John A., 2007. "Field Experiments: A Bridge between Lab and Naturally Occurring Data," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 5(2), pages 1-47, April.
  10. Jinyong Hahn & Keisuke Hirano & Dean Karlan, 2009. "Adaptive Experimental Design Using the Propensity Score," Working Papers 969, Economic Growth Center, Yale University.
  11. Lenth R. V., 2001. "Some Practical Guidelines for Effective Sample Size Determination," The American Statistician, American Statistical Association, vol. 55, pages 187-193, August.
  12. 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.
  13. Camerer, Colin F & Hogarth, Robin M, 1999. "The Effects of Financial Incentives in Experiments: A Review and Capital-Labor-Production Framework," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 19(1-3), pages 7-42, December.
  14. 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.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Bandiera, Oriana & Barankay, Iwan & Rasul, Imran, 2011. "Field Experiments with Firms," IZA Discussion Papers 5723, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.

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