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Viewpoint: On the generalizability of lab behaviour to the field

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  • Steven Levitt
  • John List

Abstract

We can think of no question more fundamental to experimental economics than understanding whether, and under what circumstances, laboratory results generalize to naturally occurring environments. In this paper, we extend Levitt and List (2006) to the class of games in which financial payoffs and doing the right thing are not necessarily in conflict. We argue that behaviour is crucially linked to not only the preferences of people, but also the properties of the situation. By doing so, we are able to provide a road map of the psychological and economic properties of people and situations that might interfere with generalizability of laboratory result from a broad class of games.

Suggested Citation

  • Steven Levitt & John List, 2007. "Viewpoint: On the generalizability of lab behaviour to the field," Artefactual Field Experiments 00001, The Field Experiments Website.
  • Handle: RePEc:feb:artefa:00001
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    JEL classification:

    • C9 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments

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