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Handbook of Experimental Economic Methodology$
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Guillaume R. Fréchette and Andrew Schotter

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780195328325

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195328325.001.0001

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Laboratory Experiments: The Lab in Relationship to Field Experiments, Field Data, and Economic Theory

Laboratory Experiments: The Lab in Relationship to Field Experiments, Field Data, and Economic Theory

Chapter:
(p.339) 16 Laboratory Experiments: The Lab in Relationship to Field Experiments, Field Data, and Economic Theory
Source:
Handbook of Experimental Economic Methodology
Author(s):

John H. Kagel

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195328325.003.0018

This chapter discusses the ways in which laboratory experiments and field experiments can be complementary in understanding the field setting of interest. It uses two examples: the winner’s curse in common-value auctions and gift exchange in experimental labor markets. It highlights three points. First, learning, which is endemic to most experimental studies, tends to be context specific and difficult to generalize from one environment to another. Second, although hopefully we can all agree on the “facts”of a particular economic experiment, there is typically wide room for disagreement on the interpretation of those facts as they apply to the broader issues at hand. Third, even in cases where the laboratory setting seems rather removed and abstract relative to the field setting one has in mind, the experimental results may be quite relevant to that field setting.

Keywords:   experimental economics, laboratory experiments, field setting, winner’s curse, gift exchange

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