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Sociality and external validity in experimental economics

  • Nicholas Bardsley


It is sometimes argued that experimental economists do not have to worry about external validity so long as the design sticks closely to a theoretical model. This position mistakes the model for the theory. As a result, applied economics designs often study phenomena distinct from their stated objects of inquiry. Because the implemented models are abstract, they may provide improbable analogues to their stated subject matter. This problem is exacerbated by the relational character of the social world, which also sets epistemic limits for the social science laboratory more generally. Copyright Springer-Verlag 2010

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Article provided by Springer & Fondazione Rosselli in its journal Mind & Society.

Volume (Year): 9 (2010)
Issue (Month): 2 (December)
Pages: 119-138

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Handle: RePEc:spr:minsoc:v:9:y:2010:i:2:p:119-138
DOI: 10.1007/s11299-010-0075-0
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  1. Guala,Francesco, 2005. "The Methodology of Experimental Economics," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521618618, November.
  2. Daniel Zizzo, 2010. "Experimenter demand effects in economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 13(1), pages 75-98, March.
  3. Smith, Vernon L, 1982. "Microeconomic Systems as an Experimental Science," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 72(5), pages 923-55, December.
  4. Allingham, Michael G. & Sandmo, Agnar, 1972. "Income tax evasion: a theoretical analysis," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 1(3-4), pages 323-338, November.
  5. F. T. Dolbear & L. B. Lave & G. Bowman & A. Lieberman & E. Prescott & F. Rueter & R. Sherman, 1968. "Collusion in Oligopoly: An Experiment on the Effect of Numbers and Information," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 82(2), pages 240-259.
  6. Morgan, John & Orzen, Henrik & Sefton, Martin, 2006. "An experimental study of price dispersion," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 54(1), pages 134-158, January.
  7. Robin Cubitt, 2005. "Experiments and the domain of economic theory," Journal of Economic Methodology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 12(2), pages 197-210.
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