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Theory and experiment: What are the questions?

  • Smith, Vernon L.

This paper deals generally with testing questions that arise both when experimental observations are in accord with the actions we predict, and when they are not. In both cases the inference of truth from observation is inherently ambiguous, and we face the daunting challenge of using our experimental skills and imagination to reduce this ambiguity. Primarily and most difficult of all we have to constantly reevaluate everything, including ourselves, especially in examining how we talk about and interpret our data. Although I will be drawing on examples and experience from laboratory experiments, the issues I consider apply just as meaningfully to other empirical studies whether from field experiments or observations from past records of socioeconomic processes.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization.

Volume (Year): 73 (2010)
Issue (Month): 1 (January)
Pages: 3-15

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Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:73:y:2010:i:1:p:3-15
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/jebo

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  14. Hume, David, 1739. "A Treatise of Human Nature (II) Of the Passions," History of Economic Thought Books, McMaster University Archive for the History of Economic Thought, volume 2, number hume1739a.
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  16. Cooper, David J. & Van Huyck, John B., 2003. "Evidence on the equivalence of the strategic and extensive form representation of games," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 110(2), pages 290-308, June.
  17. Friedman, Daniel, 1984. "On the Efficiency of Experimental Double Auction Markets," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(1), pages 60-72, March.
  18. Kalai, Ehud & Lehrer, Ehud, 1993. "Rational Learning Leads to Nash Equilibrium," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 61(5), pages 1019-45, September.
  19. Schotter, Andrew & Weigelt, Keith & Wilson, Charles, 1990. "A Laboratory Investigation Of Multi-Person Rationality And Presentation Effects," Working Papers 90-24, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
  20. Berg Joyce & Dickhaut John & McCabe Kevin, 1995. "Trust, Reciprocity, and Social History," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 122-142, July.
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  23. Arlington W. Williams & John O. Ledyard & Steven Gjerstad & Vernon L. Smith, 2000. "Concurrent trading in two experimental markets with demand interdependence," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 16(3), pages 511-528.
  24. Cox, James C., 2004. "How to identify trust and reciprocity," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 46(2), pages 260-281, February.
  25. Ernst Fehr & Urs Fischbacher, 2002. "Why Social Preferences Matter -- The Impact of Non-Selfish Motives on Competition, Cooperation and Incentives," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(478), pages C1-C33, March.
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  28. Burnham, Terence & McCabe, Kevin & Smith, Vernon L., 2000. "Friend-or-foe intentionality priming in an extensive form trust game," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 43(1), pages 57-73, September.
  29. McCabe, Kevin A. & Rassenti, Stephen J. & Smith, Vernon L., 1998. "Reciprocity, Trust, and Payoff Privacy in Extensive Form Bargaining," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 24(1-2), pages 10-24, July.
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