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Implementing theoretical models in the laboratory, and what this can and cannot achieve

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  • Stefania Sitzia
  • Robert Sugden

Abstract

We investigate the methodology used in a significant genre of experimental economics, in which experiments are designed to test theoretical models by implementing them in the laboratory. Using two case studies, we argue that such an experiment is a test, not of what the model says about its target domain, but of generic theoretical components used in the model. The properties that make a model interesting as a putative explanation of phenomena in its target domain are not necessarily appropriate for such tests. We consider how this research strategy has been legitimised within the community of experimental economists.

Suggested Citation

  • Stefania Sitzia & Robert Sugden, 2011. "Implementing theoretical models in the laboratory, and what this can and cannot achieve," Journal of Economic Methodology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 18(4), pages 323-343, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:jecmet:v:18:y:2011:i:4:p:323-343
    DOI: 10.1080/1350178X.2011.628101
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    7. Nicholas Bardsley, 2005. "Experimental economics and the artificiality of alteration," Journal of Economic Methodology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 12(2), pages 239-251.
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    Cited by:

    1. Daniel John Zizzo, 2012. "Inducing natural group identity: A RDP analysis," Working Paper series, University of East Anglia, Centre for Behavioural and Experimental Social Science (CBESS) 12-01, School of Economics, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK..
    2. repec:esx:essedp:750 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Hugh-Jones, David & Reinstein, David, 2014. "Exclude the Bad Actors or Learn About The Group," Economics Discussion Papers 10010, University of Essex, Department of Economics.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • B41 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Economic Methodology - - - Economic Methodology
    • C90 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - General

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