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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
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Publication status: Published in Perspektiven der Wirtschaftspolitik Suppl. 1 10(2009): pp. 14-30
Handle: RePEc:lmu:muenar:19767
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  1. Fehr, Ernst & Klein, Alexander & Schmidt, Klaus M., 2005. "Fairness and Contract Design," Discussion Paper Series of SFB/TR 15 Governance and the Efficiency of Economic Systems 67, Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University of Berlin, University of Bonn, University of Mannheim, University of Munich.
  2. Vernon L. Smith, 1962. "An Experimental Study of Competitive Market Behavior," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 70, pages 111.
  3. Martin Dufwenberg & Paul Heidhues & Georg Kirchsteiger & Frank Riedel & Joel Sobel, 2011. "Other-Regarding Preferences in General Equilibrium," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/149598, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  4. Falk, Armin & Fehr, Ernst & Zehnder, Christian, 2005. "The Behavioural Effects of Minimum Wages," CEPR Discussion Papers 5115, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. David K Levine, 1997. "Modeling Altruism and Spitefulness in Experiments," Levine's Working Paper Archive 2047, David K. Levine.
  6. Charness, Gary & Rabin, Matthew, 2002. "Understanding Social Preferences with Simple Tests," Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt3d04q5sm, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
  7. Uskali Maki, 2005. "Models are experiments, experiments are models," Journal of Economic Methodology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 12(2), pages 303-315.
  8. Mary Morgan, 2005. "Experiments versus models: New phenomena, inference and surprise," Journal of Economic Methodology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 12(2), pages 317-329.
  9. Ernst Fehr & Georg Kirchsteiger & Arno Riedl, 1993. "Does Fairness Prevent Market Clearing? An Experimental Investigation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 108(2), pages 437-459.
  10. Falk, Armin & Fischbacher, Urs, 2001. "A Theory of Reciprocity," CEPR Discussion Papers 3014, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  11. 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.
  12. Dufwenberg, Martin & Kirchsteiger, Georg, 2004. "A theory of sequential reciprocity," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 47(2), pages 268-298, May.
  13. Guala,Francesco, 2005. "The Methodology of Experimental Economics," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521618618, June.
  14. Matthew Rabin., 1992. "Incorporating Fairness into Game Theory and Economics," Economics Working Papers 92-199, University of California at Berkeley.
  15. Klaus Abbink & Bernd Irlenbusch & Paul Pezanis-Christou & Bettina Rockenbach & Abdolkarim Sadrieh & Reinhard Selten, 2001. "An Experimental Test of Design Alternatives for the British 3G / UMTS Auction," Bonn Econ Discussion Papers bgse25_2001, University of Bonn, Germany.
  16. Fehr, Ernst & Schmidt, Klaus M., 1999. "A theory of fairness, competition, and cooperation," Munich Reprints in Economics 20650, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  17. 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.
  18. Engelmann Dirk & Strobel Martin, 2002. "Inequality Aversion, Efficiency, and Maximin Preferences in Simple Distribution Experiments," Research Memorandum 015, Maastricht University, Maastricht Economic Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
  19. 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.
  20. 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.
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