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The role of experiments for the development of economic theories

  • Schmidt, Klaus M.

Economic experiments interact with economic theories in various ways. First of all they are used to test economic theories. However, they can neither confirm nor falsify them in a strict sense. They rather inform us about the range of applicability, the robustness and the predictive power of a theory. Furthermore, economic experiments discover and isolate phenomena and challenge economic theorists to explain them. Finally, many economic experiments are material models. They are used to analyze and predict how changes in the environment affect economic outcomes. However, they cannot offer an explanation for what we observe. This has to be provided by economic theory.

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Paper provided by University of Munich, Department of Economics in its series Munich Reprints in Economics with number 19767.

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Date of creation: 2009
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published in Perspektiven der Wirtschaftspolitik Suppl. 1 10(2009): pp. 14-30
Handle: RePEc:lmu:muenar:19767
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  1. Holt, Charles A & Langan, Loren W & Villamil, Anne P, 1986. "Market Power in Oral Double Auctions," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 24(1), pages 107-23, January.
  2. Andreoni, James, 1989. "Giving with Impure Altruism: Applications to Charity and Ricardian Equivalence," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(6), pages 1447-58, December.
  3. Dufwenberg, Martin & Kirchsteiger, Georg, 2004. "A theory of sequential reciprocity," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 47(2), pages 268-298, May.
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  5. Fehr, Ernst & Schmidt, Klaus M., 1999. "A theory of fairness, competition, and cooperation," Munich Reprints in Economics 20650, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  6. Matthew Rabin., 1992. "Incorporating Fairness into Game Theory and Economics," Economics Working Papers 92-199, University of California at Berkeley.
  7. Dirk Engelmann & Martin Strobel, 2004. "Inequality Aversion, Efficiency, and Maximin Preferences in Simple Distribution Experiments," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(4), pages 857-869, September.
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  9. Charness, Gary & Rabin, Matthew, 2001. "Understanding Social Preferences with Simple Tests," Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt4qz9k8vg, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
  10. Vernon L. Smith, 1962. "An Experimental Study of Competitive Market Behavior," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 70, pages 111.
  11. David K Levine, 1997. "Modeling Altruism and Spitefulness in Experiments," Levine's Working Paper Archive 2047, David K. Levine.
  12. Armin Falk & Ernst Fehr & Christian Zehnder, . "The Behavioral Effects of Minimum Wages," IEW - Working Papers 247, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  13. Fehr, Ernst & Klein, Alexander & Schmidt, Klaus M., 2007. "Fairness and contract design," Munich Reprints in Economics 20618, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  14. Dufwenberg, Martin & Heidhues, Paul & Kirchsteiger, Georg & Riedel, Frank & Sobel, Joel, 2008. "Other-Regarding Preferences in General Equilibrium," CEPR Discussion Papers 6815, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  15. Abbink, Klaus & Irlenbusch, Bernd & Pezanis-Christou, Paul & Rockenbach, Bettina & Sadrieh, Abdolkarim & Selten, Reinhard, 2005. "An experimental test of design alternatives for the British 3G/UMTS auction," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 49(2), pages 505-530, February.
  16. Georg Kirchsteiger & Ernst Fehr & Arno Riedl, 1993. "Does Fairness Prevent Market Clearing? An Experimental Investigation," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/5927, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  17. 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.
  18. Armin Falk & Urs Fischbacher, . "A Theory of Reciprocity," IEW - Working Papers 006, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  19. Uskali Maki, 2005. "Models are experiments, experiments are models," Journal of Economic Methodology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 12(2), pages 303-315.
  20. Mary Morgan, 2005. "Experiments versus models: New phenomena, inference and surprise," Journal of Economic Methodology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 12(2), pages 317-329.
  21. Axel Ockenfels & Gary E. Bolton, 2000. "ERC: A Theory of Equity, Reciprocity, and Competition," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(1), pages 166-193, March.
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