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The Role of Experiments for the Development of Economic Theories

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  • Schmidt, Klaus M.

Abstract

Economic experiments interact with economic theories in various ways. First of all they are used to test economic theories. However, they can neither confirm nor falsify them in a strict sense. They rather inform us about the range of applicability, the robustness and the predictive power of a theory. Furthermore, economic experiments discover and isolate phenomena and challenge economic theorists to explain them. Finally, many economic experiments are “material†models. They are used to analyse and predict how changes in the environment affect economic outcomes. However, they cannot offer an explanation for what we observe. This has to be provided by economic theory.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University of Berlin, University of Bonn, University of Mannheim, University of Munich in its series Discussion Paper Series of SFB/TR 15 Governance and the Efficiency of Economic Systems with number 252.

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Date of creation: Jan 2009
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Handle: RePEc:trf:wpaper:252

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Keywords: Economic experiments; economic theories; falsification; confirmation; phenomena; models;

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References

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  1. Georg Kirchsteiger & Martin Dufwenberg, 2004. "A theory of sequential reciprocity," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/5899, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
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  8. Ernst Fehr & Klaus M. Schmidt, 1999. "A Theory Of Fairness, Competition, And Cooperation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 114(3), pages 817-868, August.
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  13. Martin Dufwenberg & Paul Heidhues & Georg Kirchsteiger & Frank Riedel & Joel Sobel, 2011. "Other-Regarding Preferences in General Equilibrium," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/149598, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
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  16. David K Levine, 1997. "Modeling Altruism and Spitefulness in Experiments," Levine's Working Paper Archive 2047, David K. Levine.
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Cited by:
  1. Dorothea Kübler, 2010. "Experimental Practices in Economics: Performativity and the Creation of Phenomena," CIG Working Papers SP II 2010-01, Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin (WZB), Research Unit: Competition and Innovation (CIG).
  2. Fehr, Ernst & Schmidt, Klaus M., 2009. "On Inequity Aversion - A Reply to Binmore and Shaked," Discussion Paper Series of SFB/TR 15 Governance and the Efficiency of Economic Systems 256, Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University of Berlin, University of Bonn, University of Mannheim, University of Munich.

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