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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 External Validity of Laboratory Experiments: The Misleading Emphasis on Quantitative Effects

The External Validity of Laboratory Experiments: The Misleading Emphasis on Quantitative Effects

Chapter:
(p.391) 18 The External Validity of Laboratory Experiments: The Misleading Emphasis on Quantitative Effects
Source:
Handbook of Experimental Economic Methodology
Author(s):

Judd B. Kessler

Lise Vesterlund

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195328325.003.0020

This chapter comments on the papers of Levitt and List and of Camerer. It explains why for most laboratory studies it is only relevant whether the qualitative or directional results of the study are externally valid. It argues that laboratory studies are conducted to identify general principles of behavior and therefore promise to generalize. It then examines whether laboratory experiments live up to this promise. It discusses the extent to which qualitative results persist outside of the lab and how we should respond when they do not. The chapter concludes by arguing that the lab and field methodologies are highly complementary and that both provide important insights to the understanding of economics.

Keywords:   experimental economics, laboratory experiments, field experiments, qualitative results, quantitative results

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