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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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On the Relationship Between Economic Theory and Experiments

On the Relationship Between Economic Theory and Experiments

(p.58) 3 On the Relationship Between Economic Theory and Experiments
Handbook of Experimental Economic Methodology

Andrew Schotter

Oxford University Press

This chapter assesses the relationship between economic theory and experiments. It provides some insight into the nature of that relationship, and what it should or must be given the opportunities and constraints faced by social scientists. It discusses five questions dealing with the relationship between theory and experiment and the proper way to test theory in the lab: Why is theory needed for experimentation? What is the difference between predictive and explanatory theory? Is one more valuable than the other? What does it mean to test theory in the lab? What level of aggregation should we use to test theory? What features of data present the proper test of the theory?

Keywords:   social science, lab testing, experimentation, predictive theory, explanatory theory

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