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Experiments in Economics...(Should We Trust the Dismal Scientists In White Coats?)

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  • Starmer, C.

Abstract

Is the rapid growth of experimental research in economics evidence of a new scientific spirit at work or merely fresh evidence of a misplaced desire to ape the methods of natural sciences? It is often argued that economic experiments are artificial in some sense which tends to render the results problematic or uninteresting. In the early part of this paper I argue that this artificiality critique does not provide a convincing philosophical objection to experimentation in economics.

Suggested Citation

  • Starmer, C., 1998. "Experiments in Economics...(Should We Trust the Dismal Scientists In White Coats?)," University of East Anglia Discussion Papers in Economics 9801, School of Economics, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK..
  • Handle: RePEc:uea:papers:9801
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Davis, Douglas D. & Holt, Charles a., 1993. "Experimental economics: Methods, problems and promise," Estudios Económicos, El Colegio de México, Centro de Estudios Económicos, vol. 8(2), pages 179-212.
    2. Bohm, Peter, 1994. "Behaviour under Uncertainty without Preference Reversal: A Field Experiment," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 19(2), pages 185-200.
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    6. Grether, David M & Plott, Charles R, 1979. "Economic Theory of Choice and the Preference Reversal Phenomenon," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 69(4), pages 623-638, September.
    7. Frank P. Stafford, 1980. "Some Comments on the Papers by Kagel and Battalio and by Smith," NBER Chapters,in: Evaluation of Econometric Models, pages 407-410 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Mayer, Thomas, 1980. "Economics as a Hard Science: Realistic Goal or Wishful Thinking?," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 18(2), pages 165-178, April.
    9. Harrison, Glenn W, 1994. "Expected Utility Theory and the Experimentalists," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 19(2), pages 223-253.
    10. Jan Kmenta & James B. Ramsey, 1980. "Evaluation of Econometric Models," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number kmen80-1, April.
    11. Friedman,Daniel & Sunder,Shyam, 1994. "Experimental Methods," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521456821, April.
    12. Leamer, Edward E, 1983. "Let's Take the Con Out of Econometrics," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 73(1), pages 31-43, March.
    13. Jan Kmenta & James B. Ramsey, 1980. "Problems and Issues in Evaluating Econometric Models," NBER Chapters,in: Evaluation of Econometric Models, pages 1-11 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    14. Vernon L. Smith, 1980. "Relevance of Laboratory Experiments to Testing Resource Allocation Theory," NBER Chapters,in: Evaluation of Econometric Models, pages 345-377 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    15. Peter Bohm, 1994. "Behavior under uncertainty without preference reversal: A field experiment," Framed Field Experiments 00130, The Field Experiments Website.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Morten Søberg, 2002. "The Duhem-Quine thesis and experimental economics. A reinterpretation," Discussion Papers 329, Statistics Norway, Research Department.
    2. Etchart-Vincent, Nathalie, 2007. "Expérimentation de laboratoire et économie : contre quelques idées reçues et faux problèmes," L'Actualité Economique, Société Canadienne de Science Economique, vol. 83(1), pages 91-116, mars.
    3. McBride, Michael & Hewitt, David, 2013. "The enemy you can’t see: An investigation of the disruption of dark networks," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 93(C), pages 32-50.
    4. Marie-Laure Cabon-Dhersin & Nathalie Etchart-Vincent, 2012. "The puzzle of cooperation in a game of chicken: an experimental study," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 72(1), pages 65-87, January.
    5. Fiore, Annamaria, 2009. "Experimental Economics: Some Methodological Notes," MPRA Paper 12498, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    6. Marie-Laure Cabon-Dhersin & Nathalie Etchart-Vincent, 2008. "Cooperation in a Game of Chicken with Heterogeneous Agents: An Experimental Study," CIRED Working Papers hal-00395939, HAL.
    7. Matteo M. Galizzi & Daniel Navarro Martinez, 2015. "On the external validity of social-preference games: A systematic lab-field study," Economics Working Papers 1462, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
    8. Francesco GUALA, 2010. "Reciprocity: weak or strong? What punishment experiments do (and do not) demonstrate," Departmental Working Papers 2010-23, Department of Economics, Management and Quantitative Methods at Università degli Studi di Milano.
    9. repec:hal:cesptp:hal-00395939 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Søberg, Morten, 2003. "The Duhem-Quine thesis and experimental economics: A reinterpretation," Memorandum 21/2002, Oslo University, Department of Economics.
    11. Geoffrey M. Hodgson, 2004. "¿Los experimentos pueden falsear la teoría de la utilidad esperada?," Revista de Economía Institucional, Universidad Externado de Colombia - Facultad de Economía, vol. 6(10), pages 17-45, January-J.
    12. Dorian Jullien & Nicolas Vallois, 2012. "A Probabilistic Ghost in the Experimental Machine," GREDEG Working Papers 2012-05, Groupe de REcherche en Droit, Economie, Gestion (GREDEG CNRS), University of Nice Sophia Antipolis.
    13. Galizzi, Matteo M. & Navarro-Martínez, Daniel, 2018. "On the external validity of social preference games: a systematic lab-field study," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 84088, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    14. Bruno S. Frey & Benno Torgler, 2004. "Taxation and Conditional Taxation," Working Papers 2004/7, Institut d'Economia de Barcelona (IEB).
    15. Marco Pleßner, 2017. "The disposition effect: a survey," Management Review Quarterly, Springer;Vienna University of Economics and Business, vol. 67(1), pages 1-30, February.
    16. Zonna, Davide, 2016. "Sprechi di cibo e tentativi di riduzione. Un caso sperimentale
      [Avoiding food waste. A field experiment]
      ," MPRA Paper 76097, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    17. Ana C. Santos, 2011. "Experimental Economics," Chapters,in: The Elgar Companion to Recent Economic Methodology, chapter 3 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    18. List John A., 2007. "Field Experiments: A Bridge between Lab and Naturally Occurring Data," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 5(2), pages 1-47, April.
    19. Marc Le Menestrel & Luk Van Wassenhove, 2001. "The Domain and Interpretation of Utility Functions: An Exploration," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 51(2), pages 329-349, December.
    20. Robin Cubitt, 2005. "Experiments and the domain of economic theory," Journal of Economic Methodology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 12(2), pages 197-210.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    EXPERIMENTS ; LABORATORIES;

    JEL classification:

    • C90 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - General
    • C99 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Other

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