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"The Way in which an Experiment is Conducted is Unbelievably Important": On the Experimentation Practices of Economists and Psychologists

  • Andreas Ortmann

To discuss experimental results without discussing how they came about makes sense when the results are robust to the way experiments are conducted. Experimental results, however, are – arguably more often than not – sensitive to numerous design and implementation characteristics such as the use of financial incentives, deception, and the way information is presented. To the extent that economists and psychologists have different experimental practices, this claim is of obvious practical and interpretative relevance. In light of the empirical results summarized below, it seems warranted to say that it does not make sense to report experimental results without reporting the design and implementation choices that were made.

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Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 2887.

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Date of creation: 2009
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_2887
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  1. David Reiley & John List, 2008. "Field experiments," Artefactual Field Experiments 00091, The Field Experiments Website.
  2. Colin F. Camerer & Teck-Hua Ho & Juin-Kuan Chong, 2004. "A Cognitive Hierarchy Model of Games," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 119(3), pages 861-898.
  3. Camerer, Colin F. & Hogarth, Robin M., 1999. "The Effects of Financial Incentives in Experiments: A Review and Capital-Labor-Production Framework," Working Papers 1059, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
  4. George Wu & John List & Uri Gneezy, 2006. "The uncertainty effect: When a risky prospect is valued less than its worst possible outcome," Framed Field Experiments 00152, The Field Experiments Website.
  5. Andreas Ortmann & Ralph Hertwig, 2002. "The Costs of Deception: Evidence from Psychology," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 5(2), pages 111-131, October.
  6. John A. List, 2006. "The Behavioralist Meets the Market: Measuring Social Preferences and Reputation Effects in Actual Transactions," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 114(1), pages 1-37, February.
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  9. Ondrej Rydval & Andreas Ortmann, 2004. "How financial incentives and cognitive abilities affect task performance in laboratory settings: An illustration," CERGE-EI Working Papers wp221, The Center for Economic Research and Graduate Education - Economics Institute, Prague.
  10. Philip J. Reny, 1992. "Rationality in Extensive-Form Games," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 6(4), pages 103-118, Fall.
  11. Ondrej Rydval & Andreas Ortmann & Sasha Prokosheva & Ralph Hertwig, 2009. "How Certain Is the Uncertainty Effect?," CERGE-EI Working Papers wp385, The Center for Economic Research and Graduate Education - Economics Institute, Prague.
  12. Matthew Rabin., 1997. "Psychology and Economics," Economics Working Papers 97-251, University of California at Berkeley.
  13. Steven D. Levitt & John A. List, 2007. "What Do Laboratory Experiments Measuring Social Preferences Reveal About the Real World?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 21(2), pages 153-174, Spring.
  14. Glenn W. Harrison & Eric Johnson & Melayne M. McInnes & E. Elisabet Rutström, 2005. "Risk Aversion and Incentive Effects: Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(3), pages 897-901, June.
  15. Charles A. Holt & Susan K. Laury, 2002. "Risk Aversion and Incentive Effects," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(5), pages 1644-1655, December.
  16. Smith, Vernon L, 1982. "Microeconomic Systems as an Experimental Science," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 72(5), pages 923-55, December.
  17. Smith, Vernon L, 1976. "Experimental Economics: Induced Value Theory," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 66(2), pages 274-79, May.
  18. Smith, Vernon L, 1991. "Rational Choice: The Contrast between Economics and Psychology," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(4), pages 877-97, August.
  19. Vernon Smith, 2002. "Method in Experiment: Rhetoric and Reality," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 5(2), pages 91-110, October.
  20. Smith, Vernon L & Walker, James M, 1993. "Monetary Rewards and Decision Cost in Experimental Economics," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 31(2), pages 245-61, April.
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