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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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The Hammer and the Screwdriver

The Hammer and the Screwdriver

(p.197) 12 The Hammer and the Screwdriver
Handbook of Experimental Economic Methodology

Gary Charness

Oxford University Press

This chapter considers the current debate about the value of field experiments compared to the value of laboratory experiments. It suggests that what is needed in approaching experimental economics is a wide variety of approaches and that the best tool depends on the question being asked, but no one tool is right for all environments. The lab is better for theory testing and to identify treatment effects whereas the field captures more realistic behavior. In either case, one needs a theory to transport findings to new populations or environments.

Keywords:   experimental economics, field experiments, laboratory experiments, treatment effects

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