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Experiments in economics: External validity and the robustness of phenomena

Author

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  • Francesco Guala
  • Luigi Mittone

Abstract

External validity is the problem of generalizing results from laboratory to non-laboratory conditions. In this paper we review various ways in which the problem can be tackled, depending on the kind of experiment one is doing. Using a concrete example, we highlight in particular the distinction between external validity and robustness, and point out that many experiments are not aimed at a well-specified real-world target but rather contribute to a 'library of robust phenomena', a body of experimental knowledge to be applied case by case.

Suggested Citation

  • Francesco Guala & Luigi Mittone, 2005. "Experiments in economics: External validity and the robustness of phenomena," Journal of Economic Methodology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 12(4), pages 495-515.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:jecmet:v:12:y:2005:i:4:p:495-515
    DOI: 10.1080/13501780500342906
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Mittone, Luigi, 2006. "Dynamic behaviour in tax evasion: An experimental approach," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 35(5), pages 813-835, October.
    2. Paul Klemperer, 2004. "Auctions: Theory and Practice," Online economics textbooks, SUNY-Oswego, Department of Economics, number auction1, March.
    3. Paul Klemperer, 2004. "Auctions: Theory and Practice," Online economics textbooks, SUNY-Oswego, Department of Economics, number auction1.
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