IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/cpr/ceprdp/7620.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Lab Experiments are a Major Source of Knowledge in the Social Sciences

Author

Listed:
  • Falk, Armin
  • Heckman, James J

Abstract

Laboratory experiments are a widely used methodology for advancing causal knowledge in the physical and life sciences. With the exception of psychology, the adoption of laboratory experiments has been much slower in the social sciences, although during the last two decades, the use of lab experiments has accelerated. Nonetheless, there remains considerable resistance among social scientists who argue that lab experiments lack "realism" and "generalizability". In this article we discuss the advantages and limitations of laboratory social science experiments by comparing them to research based on nonexperimental data and to field experiments. We argue that many recent objections against lab experiments are misguided and that even more lab experiments should be conducted.

Suggested Citation

  • Falk, Armin & Heckman, James J, 2010. "Lab Experiments are a Major Source of Knowledge in the Social Sciences," CEPR Discussion Papers 7620, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:7620
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=7620
    Download Restriction: CEPR Discussion Papers are free to download for our researchers, subscribers and members. If you fall into one of these categories but have trouble downloading our papers, please contact us at subscribers@cepr.org
    ---><---

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version below or search for a different version of it.

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Glenn W. Harrison & John A. List, 2004. "Field Experiments," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 42(4), pages 1009-1055, December.
    2. Friedman,Daniel & Sunder,Shyam, 1994. "Experimental Methods," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521456821, May.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Bodo Sturm & Joachim Weimann, 2006. "Experiments in Environmental Economics and Some Close Relatives," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 20(3), pages 419-457, July.
    2. Dörschner, T. & Musshoff, O., 2015. "How do incentive-based environmental policies affect environment protection initiatives of farmers? An experimental economic analysis using the example of species richness," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 114(C), pages 90-103.
    3. Bogliacino, Francesco & Codagnone, Cristiano, 2017. "Microfoundations, Behaviour, and Evolution: Evidence from Experiments," MPRA Paper 82479, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. Gatiso, Tsegaye T. & Vollan, Björn & Nuppenau, Ernst-August, 2015. "Resource scarcity and democratic elections in commons dilemmas: An experiment on forest use in Ethiopia," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 114(C), pages 199-207.
    5. Cardella, Eric & Chiu, Ray, 2012. "Stackelberg in the lab: The effect of group decision making and “Cooling-off” periods," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 33(6), pages 1070-1083.
    6. Bogliacino, Francesco & Grimalda, Gianluca & Jimenez, Laura, 2017. "Consultative Democracy & Trust," MPRA Paper 82138, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    7. Fiore, Annamaria, 2009. "Experimental Economics: Some Methodological Notes," MPRA Paper 12498, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    8. Bogliacino, Francesco & Jiménez Lozano, Laura & Grimalda, Gianluca, 2018. "Consultative democracy and trust11We thank Vanessa Carrillo, Jairo Paéz and Daniel Reyes for their help during the experiments. A special thanks to Franci Beltrán, Jairo Paéz and Alfonso Peña for prov," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 44(C), pages 55-67.
    9. Nicola Lacetera & Mario Macis & Robert Slonim, 2011. "Rewarding Altruism? A Natural Field Experiment," NBER Working Papers 17636, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Ginger Zhe Jin & Andrew Kato & John A. List, 2010. "That’S News To Me! Information Revelation In Professional Certification Markets," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 48(1), pages 104-122, January.
    11. Bosch-Domènech, Antoni & Vriend, Nicolaas J., 2013. "On the role of non-equilibrium focal points as coordination devices," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 94(C), pages 52-67.
    12. Feuz, Dillon M. & Umberger, Wendy J. & Calkins, Chris R. & Killinger, Karen M., 2000. "Consumer Preference For Domestic Versus International Beef Steaks," 2000 Annual Meeting, June 29-July 1, 2000, Vancouver, British Columbia 36385, Western Agricultural Economics Association.
    13. Mujcic, Redzo & Frijters, Paul, 2013. "Still Not Allowed on the Bus: It Matters If You're Black or White!," IZA Discussion Papers 7300, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    14. Boone, Jan & Sadrieh, Abdolkarim & van Ours, Jan C., 2009. "Experiments on unemployment benefit sanctions and job search behavior," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 53(8), pages 937-951, November.
    15. Cardenas, Juan Camilo & Rodriguez, Luz Angela & Johnson, Nancy, 2011. "Collective action for watershed management: field experiments in Colombia and Kenya," Environment and Development Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 16(3), pages 275-303, June.
    16. Kerri Brick & Martine Visser & Justine Burns, 2012. "Risk Aversion: Experimental Evidence from South African Fishing Communities," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 94(1), pages 133-152.
    17. Ashish Arora & Michelle Gittelman & Sarah Kaplan & John Lynch & Will Mitchell & Nicolaj Siggelkow & Aaron K. Chatterji & Michael Findley & Nathan M. Jensen & Stephan Meier & Daniel Nielson, 2016. "Field experiments in strategy research," Strategic Management Journal, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 37(1), pages 116-132, January.
    18. Kyriaki Remoundou & Drichoutis Andreas & Phoebe Koundouri, 2010. "Warm glow in charitable auctions: Are the WEIRDos driving the results?," DEOS Working Papers 1028, Athens University of Economics and Business.
    19. Emmanuel Dechenaux & Dan Kovenock & Roman Sheremeta, 2015. "A survey of experimental research on contests, all-pay auctions and tournaments," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 18(4), pages 609-669, December.
    20. Johannes Abeler & Felix Marklein, 2017. "Fungibility, Labels, and Consumption," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 15(1), pages 99-127.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    controlled variation; field experiments; laboratory experiments;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C90 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - General
    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • C92 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Group Behavior
    • C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments
    • D00 - Microeconomics - - General - - - General

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:7620. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: https://www.cepr.org .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://www.cepr.org .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.