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A test of the experimental method in the spirit of Popper

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  • Shaun Hargreaves Heap
  • Arjan Verschoor
  • Daniel John Zizzo

Abstract

Do the insights into human behavior generated by laboratory experiments hold outside the lab? This is a crucial question that naturally troubles both experimentalists and their critics. We address this question by adopting Popper's injunction that hypotheses should be tested, not by seeking instances of confirmation, but through exposure to conditions where falsification is a serious possibility. We test the hypothesis ‘that experimental insights hold outside the lab’ by selecting a population where the non-experimental evidence points to behavior that is quite unlike what is typically found in the laboratory and we examine whether their experimental results track these untypical behaviors. In our case, they do.

Suggested Citation

  • Shaun Hargreaves Heap & Arjan Verschoor & Daniel John Zizzo, 2012. "A test of the experimental method in the spirit of Popper," Journal of Economic Methodology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 19(1), pages 63-76, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:jecmet:v:19:y:2012:i:1:p:63-76
    DOI: 10.1080/1350178X.2012.661068
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