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Experiments as exhibits and experiments as tests

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  • Robert Sugden

Abstract

Two roles of experiments in behavioural economics are distinguished - experiments as exhibits and experiments as tests of theories. An exhibit is an experimental design which reliably induces a surprising regularity, typically combined with an informal hypothesis about the underlying causal mechanism. 'Deviation theories' - generalisations of received theories which incorporate additional causal mechanisms - are constructed so as to be consistent with known exhibits, and tested in new situations. The paper argues that the principles of good practice are different for the two types of experiment, in part because of a tendency for successful exhibits to be produced by several causal mechanisms.

Suggested Citation

  • Robert Sugden, 2005. "Experiments as exhibits and experiments as tests," Journal of Economic Methodology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 12(2), pages 291-302.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:jecmet:v:12:y:2005:i:2:p:291-302 DOI: 10.1080/13501780500086248
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Ernst Fehr & Klaus M. Schmidt, 1999. "A Theory of Fairness, Competition, and Cooperation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(3), pages 817-868.
    2. Hey, John D & Orme, Chris, 1994. "Investigating Generalizations of Expected Utility Theory Using Experimental Data," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(6), pages 1291-1326, November.
    3. Harless, David W & Camerer, Colin F, 1994. "The Predictive Utility of Generalized Expected Utility Theories," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(6), pages 1251-1289, November.
    4. Kahneman, Daniel & Tversky, Amos, 1979. "Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision under Risk," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(2), pages 263-291, March.
    5. Loomes, Graham & Starmer, Chris & Sugden, Robert, 1991. "Observing Violations of Transitivity by Experimental Methods," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 59(2), pages 425-439, March.
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    Cited by:

    1. Croson, Rachel & Gächter, Simon, 2010. "The science of experimental economics," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, pages 122-131.
    2. Fiore, Annamaria, 2009. "Experimental Economics: Some Methodological Notes," MPRA Paper 12498, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Francesco Guala & Luigi Mittone, 2008. "Paradigmatic Experiments: the Dictator Game," CEEL Working Papers 0807, Cognitive and Experimental Economics Laboratory, Department of Economics, University of Trento, Italia.
    4. Zizzo, Daniel John, 2013. "Claims and confounds in economic experiments," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 93(C), pages 186-195.
    5. Luigino Bruni & Fabio Tufano, 2017. "The value of vulnerability: The transformative capacity of risky trust," Judgment and Decision Making, Society for Judgment and Decision Making, pages 408-414.
    6. Ana C. Santos, 2011. "Experimental Economics," Chapters,in: The Elgar Companion to Recent Economic Methodology, chapter 3 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    7. Guala, Francesco & Mittone, Luigi, 2010. "Paradigmatic experiments: The Dictator Game," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 39(5), pages 578-584, October.
    8. Mathieu Désolé & Stefano Farolfi & Fioravante Patrone & Patrick Rio, 2009. "From Experience to Experiments in South African Water Management: Defining the Framework," Working Papers 09-24, LAMETA, Universtiy of Montpellier, revised Dec 2009.

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