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Experimental Economics: Applications to Environmental Policy

  • Andrew Reeson
  • Karel Nolles

    ()

    (CSIRO Sustainable Ecosystems, Australia)

Incentives, regulations and other policy interventions intended to promote sustainability work through influencing human behaviour. There is therefore much to be gained from a thorough understanding of exactly how various policy interventions relate to the decision-making process. Experimental economics, and the closely related fields of behavioural economics and behavioural finance, apply an empirical approach to study how people act when faced with a range of economic and social scenarios. The experimental approach was pioneered by Vernon Smith and Daniel Kahneman and others, building on early studies by Chamberlin (1948). In recognition of this work, Kahneman and Smith were awarded the 2002 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences. This paper briefly reviews the applications and methods of experimental economics, relates some key research findings and describes some examples of its use in informing environmental policy.

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Paper provided by CSIRO Sustainable Ecosystems in its series Socio-Economics and the Environment in Discussion (SEED) Working Paper Series with number 2009-03.

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Length: 21 pages
Date of creation: Jan 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cse:wpaper:2009-03
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  1. Ernst Fehr & Joseph Henrich & Robert Boyd, 2003. "In Search of Homo Economicus: Behavioral Experiments in 15 Small- Scale Societies," Microeconomics 0305009, EconWPA.
  2. Smith, Vernon L, 1976. "Experimental Economics: Induced Value Theory," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 66(2), pages 274-79, May.
  3. Porter, David P & Smith, Vernon L, 1995. "Futures Contracting and Dividend Uncertainty in Experimental Asset Markets," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 68(4), pages 509-41, October.
  4. Porter, David & Rassenti, Stephen & Shobe, William & Smith, Vernon & Winn, Abel, 2009. "The design, testing and implementation of Virginia's NOx allowance auction," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 69(2), pages 190-200, February.
  5. Ernst Fehr & Simon Gaechter, . "Cooperation and Punishment in Public Goods Experiments," IEW - Working Papers 010, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  6. Samuelson, William & Zeckhauser, Richard, 1988. " Status Quo Bias in Decision Making," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 1(1), pages 7-59, March.
  7. Smith, Vernon L & Suchanek, Gerry L & Williams, Arlington W, 1988. "Bubbles, Crashes, and Endogenous Expectations in Experimental Spot Asset Markets," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(5), pages 1119-51, September.
  8. Ernst Fehr & John A. List, 2004. "The Hidden Costs and Returns of Incentives-Trust and Trustworthiness Among CEOs," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 2(5), pages 743-771, 09.
  9. John Ledyard & David Porter & Randii Wessen, 2000. "A Market-Based Mechanism for Allocating Space Shuttle Secondary Payload Priority," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 2(3), pages 173-195, March.
  10. Anderson, Christopher M. & Sutinen, Jon G., 2006. "The effect of initial lease periods on price discovery in laboratory tradable fishing allowance markets," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 61(2), pages 164-180, October.
  11. Plott, Charles R. & Smith, Vernon L., . "An Experimental Examination of Two Exchange Institutions," Working Papers 83, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
  12. Horowitz, John K. & McConnell, Kenneth E., 2002. "A Review of WTA/WTP Studies," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 44(3), pages 426-447, November.
  13. Shlomo Benartzi & Richard H. Thaler, 1993. "Myopic Loss Aversion and the Equity Premium Puzzle," NBER Working Papers 4369, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Berg Joyce & Dickhaut John & McCabe Kevin, 1995. "Trust, Reciprocity, and Social History," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 122-142, July.
  15. Gintis, Herbert, 2000. "Beyond Homo economicus: evidence from experimental economics," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(3), pages 311-322, December.
  16. Plott, Charles R., 1996. "Laboratory Experimental Testbeds: Application to the PCS Auction," Working Papers 957, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
  17. Smith, Vernon L, 1982. "Microeconomic Systems as an Experimental Science," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 72(5), pages 923-55, December.
  18. Vernon L. Smith, 1994. "Economics in the Laboratory," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 8(1), pages 113-131, Winter.
  19. 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.
  20. David Reiley & John List, 2008. "Field experiments," Artefactual Field Experiments 00091, The Field Experiments Website.
  21. Elinor Ostrom, 2000. "Collective Action and the Evolution of Social Norms," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 14(3), pages 137-158, Summer.
  22. Alvin E. Roth & V. Prasnikar & M. Okuno-Fujiwara & S. Zamir, 1998. "Bargaining and market behavior in Jerusalem, Liubljana, Pittsburgh and Tokyo: an experimental study," Levine's Working Paper Archive 344, David K. Levine.
  23. Reeson, Andrew F. & Tisdell, John G., 2008. "Institutions, motivations and public goods: An experimental test of motivational crowding," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 68(1), pages 273-281, October.
  24. Ryan R J McAllister & Andrew F Reeson, 2007. "An Experimental Approach to Comparing Trust in Pastoral and Non-Pastoral Australia," Socio-Economics and the Environment in Discussion (SEED) Working Paper Series 2007-09, CSIRO Sustainable Ecosystems.
  25. Ronald G. Cummings & Charles A. Holt & Susan K. Laury, 2004. "Using laboratory experiments for policymaking: An example from the Georgia irrigation reduction auction," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 23(2), pages 341-363.
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