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How to Examine External Validity Within an Experiment

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  • Amanda E. Kowalski

Abstract

A fundamental concern for researchers who analyze and design experiments is that the estimate obtained from the experiment might not be externally valid for other policies of interest. Researchers often attempt to assess external validity by comparing data from an experiment to external data. In this paper, I discuss approaches from the treatment effects literature that researchers can use to begin the examination of external validity internally, within the data from a single experiment. I focus on presenting the approaches simply using stylized examples.

Suggested Citation

  • Amanda E. Kowalski, 2018. "How to Examine External Validity Within an Experiment," NBER Working Papers 24834, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:24834
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Andrew Dustan & Juan Manuel Hernandez-Agramonte & Stanislao Maldonado, 2018. "Motivating bureaucrats with non-monetary incentives when state capacity is weak: Evidence from large-scale," Natural Field Experiments 00664, The Field Experiments Website.
    2. Eszter Czibor & David Jimenez‐Gomez & John A. List, 2019. "The Dozen Things Experimental Economists Should Do (More of)," Southern Economic Journal, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 86(2), pages 371-432, October.
    3. Amanda E. Kowalski, 2018. "Behavior within a Clinical Trial and Implications for Mammography Guidelines," NBER Working Papers 25049, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Alexander Ruder, 2019. "What Works at Scale? A Framework to Scale Up Workforce Development Programs," FRB Atlanta Community and Economic Development Discussion Paper 2019-1, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
    5. Dustan, Andrew & Maldonado, Stanislao & Hernandez-Agramonte, Juan Manuel, 2018. "Motivating bureaucrats with non-monetary incentives when state capacity is weak: Evidence from large-scale field experiments in Peru," MPRA Paper 90952, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    6. Jörg Peters & Jörg Langbein & Gareth Roberts, 2018. "Generalization in the Tropics – Development Policy, Randomized Controlled Trials, and External Validity," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 33(1), pages 34-64.
    7. Williams, Martin J., 2020. "Beyond ‘context matters’: Context and external validity in impact evaluation," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 127(C).

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C9 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments
    • C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments
    • H0 - Public Economics - - General

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