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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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Discussion of “ Psychology and Economics: Areas of Convergence and Difference”

Discussion of “ Psychology and Economics: Areas of Convergence and Difference”

(p.200) 13 Discussion of “ Psychology and Economics: Areas of Convergence and Difference”
Handbook of Experimental Economic Methodology

Theo Offerman

Oxford University Press

This chapter comments on work by Tyler and Amodio, questioning their suggestion that deception is a useful tool for economists in order to avoid demand effects. Deception is supposed to create a decoy objective for the experiments with the idea that subjects will think that the experiment is about the decoy and offer the experimenter what he wants with respect to it, but act honestly in their behavior toward the true goal of the experiment. However, the subjects may be so focused on the decoy that they fail to pay proper attention to the true object of the experiment and thereby generate misleading data. Furthermore, it is doubtful that many subjects are capable of figuring out the purpose of the experiment or equilibrium behavior consistent with it and, hence, are unlikely to falsely behave according to it. The way economists proceed now is probably correct: Conduct an experiment where subjects are anonymous, where there is distance between the experimenter and the subject, and where subjects are paid enough to have them focus on the trade-offs presented to them in the experiment.

Keywords:   experimental economics, deception, demand effects, economists

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