The Duhem-Quine thesis and experimental economics. A reinterpretation
The Duhem-Quine thesis asserts that any empirical evaluation of a theory is in fact a composite test of several interconnected hypotheses. Recalcitrant evidence signals falsity within the conjunction of hypotheses, but logic alone cannot pinpoint the individual element(s) inside the theoretical cluster responsible for a false prediction. This paper considers the relevance of the Duhem-Quine thesis for experimental economics. A starting point is to detail how laboratory evaluations of economic hypotheses constitute composite tests. Another aim is to scrutinize the strategy of conducting a series of experiments in order to hem in the source(s) of disconfirmative evidence. A Bayesian approach is employed to argue that reproducing experiments is not necessarily useful in terms of identifying correct causes of recalcitrant data.
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- Chris Starmer, 1999.
"Experiments in economics: should we trust the dismal scientists in white coats?,"
Journal of Economic Methodology,
Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 6(1), pages 1-30.
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- Roth, Alvin E, 1994. "Lets Keep the Con out of Experimental Econ.: A Methodological Note," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 19(2), pages 279-289.
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- Vernon L. Smith, 1994. "Economics in the Laboratory," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 8(1), pages 113-131, Winter. Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)
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