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A test of the experimental method

Author

Listed:
  • Shaun P. Hargreaves Heap

    (University of East Anglia)

  • Arjan Verschoor

    (University of East Anglia)

  • Daniel John Zizzo

    (University of East Anglia)

Abstract

Do the insights into human behavior generated by laboratory experiments hold outside the lab? This is the crucial question of external validity that naturally troubles both experimentalists and their critics. We address this question by adopting Popper's injunction that hypotheses should be tested, not by seeking instances of confirmation, but through exposure to conditions where falsification is a serious possibility. We select a population where the non-experimental evidence points to behavior which is quite unlike what is typically found in the laboratory and we examine whether their experimental results track these untypical behaviors. In our case, they do.

Suggested Citation

  • Shaun P. Hargreaves Heap & Arjan Verschoor & Daniel John Zizzo, 2009. "A test of the experimental method," Working Paper series, University of East Anglia, Centre for Behavioural and Experimental Social Science (CBESS) 09-17, School of Economics, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK..
  • Handle: RePEc:uea:wcbess:09-17
    as

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    File URL: https://www.uea.ac.uk/documents/166500/14307614/CBESS-09-17.pdf/4426fafe-cd64-4a4e-a879-2a879d103b28
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Guala,Francesco, 2005. "The Methodology of Experimental Economics," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521618618.
    2. Steven D. Levitt & John A. List, 2007. "What Do Laboratory Experiments Measuring Social Preferences Reveal About the Real World?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 21(2), pages 153-174, Spring.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    external validity; experiments; trust; groups; discrimination;

    JEL classification:

    • B41 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Economic Methodology - - - Economic Methodology
    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments
    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification

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