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Experiments and the domain of economic theory

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  • Robin Cubitt

Abstract

This paper distinguishes the base domain of an economic theory (in which predictions are relatively unambiguous) from, respectively, the domains of intended application and of legitimate testing; it argues that the domain of legitimate testing is not generally restricted to that of intended application; and discusses the obligations on researchers imposed by a position that presumes experimental environments in the base domain of a theory to provide legitimate test, unless there is compelling reason to expect behaviour in the domain of intended application to conform more closely to the theory. Experimental tests of choice theory are discussed as an example.

Suggested Citation

  • Robin Cubitt, 2005. "Experiments and the domain of economic theory," Journal of Economic Methodology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 12(2), pages 197-210.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:jecmet:v:12:y:2005:i:2:p:197-210
    DOI: 10.1080/13501780500086040
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. David M. Grether & James C. Cox, 1996. "The preference reversal phenomenon: Response mode, markets and incentives (*)," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 7(3), pages 381-405.
    2. 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.
    3. Jacinto Braga & Chris Starmer, 2005. "Preference Anomalies, Preference Elicitation and the Discovered Preference Hypothesis," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 32(1), pages 55-89, September.
    4. Robin Cubitt & Chris Starmer & Robert Sugden, 2001. "Discovered preferences and the experimental evidence of violations of expected utility theory," Journal of Economic Methodology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 8(3), pages 385-414.
    5. Chris Starmer, 1999. "Experiments in economics: should we trust the dismal scientists in white coats?," Journal of Economic Methodology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 6(1), pages 1-30.
    6. Chris Starmer, 2000. "Developments in Non-expected Utility Theory: The Hunt for a Descriptive Theory of Choice under Risk," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 38(2), pages 332-382, June.
    7. Smith, Vernon L, 1976. "Experimental Economics: Induced Value Theory," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 66(2), pages 274-279, May.
    8. Loewenstein, George, 1999. "Experimental Economics from the Vantage-Point of Behavioural Economics," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 109(453), pages 23-34, February.
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    11. Hausman,Daniel M., 1992. "The Inexact and Separate Science of Economics," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521415019, April.
    12. Cubitt, Robin P. & Sugden, Robert, 2001. "On Money Pumps," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 37(1), pages 121-160, October.
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    Cited by:

    1. Fiore, Annamaria, 2009. "Experimental Economics: Some Methodological Notes," MPRA Paper 12498, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Andreas Hildenbrand & Rainer Kühl & Anne Piper, 2016. "On the Credibility Determinants of a Quality Label: a Quasi-Natural Experiment Using the Example of Stiftung Warentest," Journal of Consumer Policy, Springer, vol. 39(3), pages 307-325, September.
    3. Ohana, Marc, 2009. "La réciprocité sur le marché du travail : les limites du laboratoire," L'Actualité Economique, Société Canadienne de Science Economique, vol. 85(2), pages 239-256, juin.
    4. Nicholas Bardsley, 2010. "Sociality and external validity in experimental economics," Mind & Society: Cognitive Studies in Economics and Social Sciences, Springer;Fondazione Rosselli, vol. 9(2), pages 119-138, December.
    5. Ana C. Santos, 2011. "Experimental Economics," Chapters,in: The Elgar Companion to Recent Economic Methodology, chapter 3 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    6. Kroll, Eike Benjamin & Vogt, Bodo, 2012. "The relevance of irrelevant alternatives," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 115(3), pages 435-437.
    7. Hildenbrand, Andreas, 2010. "Cournot or Stackelberg competition? A survey on experimental evidence," MPRA Paper 24468, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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