A test of the experimental method
AbstractDo the insights into human behavior generated by laboratory experiments hold outside the lab? This is the crucial question of external validity that naturally troubles both experimentalists and their critics. We address this question by adopting Popper's injunction that hypotheses should be tested, not by seeking instances of confirmation, but through exposure to conditions where falsification is a serious possibility. We select a population where the non-experimental evidence points to behavior which is quite unlike what is typically found in the laboratory and we examine whether their experimental results track these untypical behaviors. In our case, they do.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by School of Economics, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK. in its series Working Paper series, University of East Anglia, Centre for Behavioural and Experimental Social Science (CBESS) with number 09-17.
Date of creation: 01 Dec 2009
Date of revision:
Postal: Helen Chapman, School of Economics, University of East Anglia, Norwich Research Park, Norwich, NR4 7TJ, UK
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- B41 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Economic Methodology - - - Economic Methodology
- C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
- C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments
- Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Social and Economic Stratification
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- 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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