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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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What is an Economic Theory That Can Inform Experiments?

What is an Economic Theory That Can Inform Experiments?

Chapter:
(p.145) 8 What is an Economic Theory That Can Inform Experiments?
Source:
Handbook of Experimental Economic Methodology
Author(s):

Uri Gneezy

Pedro Rey-Biel

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195328325.003.0009

This chapter suggests that while in economics a theory is considered to be a precise mathematical model of a phenomenon, in other social sciences quite different objects are considered to be theories. There is no need for economists to restrict themselves to only testing economic models or theories; they should consider theories from other fields. However, experiments should be kept simple to better understand what participants are doing; and because of that, recovering parameters of a theoretical model from a laboratory experiment is rarely informative. Rather, the focus should be on treatment effects, which help understand the reasons behind a phenomenon and the direction of the effect.

Keywords:   economic theory, experimental economics, mathematical models, economists

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