Experiments in Economics ... (should we trust the dismal scientists in white coats?)
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. Later sections of the paper argue that methodological discourse in relation to experiments has become somewhat polarized: experimentalists have promoted a position which seeks to defuse objections to experiments; theorists have taken up positions which insulate theory from experimental challenge. I argue that these strategies are overly defensive and tend to stifle rather than promote the goals of economic enquiry.
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References listed on IDEAS
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- 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.
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"Let's Take the Con Out of Econometrics,"
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- Bohm, Peter, 1994. "Behaviour under Uncertainty without Preference Reversal: A Field Experiment," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 19(2), pages 185-200.
- 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.
- John H. Kagel & Raymond C. Battalio, 1980. "Token Economy and Animal Models for the Experimental Analysis of Economic Behavior," NBER Chapters,in: Evaluation of Econometric Models, pages 379-401 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Kahneman, Daniel & Tversky, Amos, 1979. "Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision under Risk," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(2), pages 263-291, March.
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- 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.
- Grether, David M. & Plott, Charles R., "undated". "Economic Theory of Choice and the Preference Reversal Phenomenon," Working Papers 152, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
- 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.
- 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.
- Harrison, Glenn W, 1994. "Expected Utility Theory and the Experimentalists," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 19(2), pages 223-253.
- Peter Bohm, 1994. "Behavior under uncertainty without preference reversal: A field experiment," Framed Field Experiments 00130, The Field Experiments Website.
- Jan Kmenta & James B. Ramsey, 1980. "Evaluation of Econometric Models," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number kmen80-1, Enero-Jun. Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)
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