David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jonathan Jenkins Ichikawa
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Economics and Philosophy 16 (1):47-75 (2000)
Controversies in economics often fizzle out unresolved. One reason is that, despite their professed empiricism, economists find it hard to agree on the interpretation of the relevant empirical evidence. In this paper I will present an example of a controversial issue first raised and then solved by recourse to laboratory experimentation. A major theme of this paper, then, concerns the methodological advantages of controlled experiments. The second theme is the nature of experimental artefacts and of the methods devised to detect them. Recent studies of experimental science have stressed that experimenters are often merely concerned about determining whether a certain phenomeonon exists or not, or whether, when, and where it can be produced, without necessarily engaging in proving or disproving any theoretical explanation of the phenomenon itself. In this paper I shall be concerned mainly with such a case, and focus on the example of preference reversals, a phenomenon whose existence was until quite recently denied by the majority of economists. Their favourite strategy consisted in trying to explain the phenomenon away as an artefact of the experimental techniques used to observe it. By controlled experimentation, as we shall see, such an interpretation has been discredited, and now preference reversals are generally accepted as real. The problem of distinguishing an artefact from a real phenomenon is related to methodological issues traditionally discussed by philosophers of science, such as the theory-ladenness of observation and Duhem's problem. Part of this paper is devoted to clarifying these two philosophical problems, and to arguing that only the latter is relevant to the case in hand. The solutions to Duhem's problem devised by economic experimentalists will be presented and discussed. I shall show that they belong in two broad categories: independent tests of new predictions derived from the competing hypotheses at stake, and ‘no- miracle arguments’ from different experimental techniques delivering converging results despite their being theoretically independent
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
Dorian Jullien & Nicolas Vallois (2014). A Probabilistic Ghost in the Experimental Machine. Journal of Economic Methodology 21 (3):232-250.
Francesco Guala (2000). The Logic of Normative Falsification: Rationality and Experiments in Decision Theory. Journal of Economic Methodology 7 (1):59-93.
Martin K. Jones (2008). On the Autonomy of Experiments in Economics. Journal of Economic Methodology 15 (4):391-407.
Roberto Burlando (2001). Values, Ethics and Ecology in Economics. World Futures 56 (3):241-261.
Similar books and articles
Stefania Sitzia & Robert Sugden (2011). Implementing Theoretical Models in the Laboratory, and What This Can and Cannot Achieve. Journal of Economic Methodology 18 (4):323-343.
Francesco Guala (2005). Economics in the Lab: Completeness Vs. Testability. Journal of Economic Methodology 12 (2):185-196.
Maria Trumpler (1997). Verification and Variation: Patterns of Experimentation in Investigations of Galvanism in Germany, 1790-1800. Philosophy of Science 64 (4):84.
Deborah Mayo (2008). Some Methodological Issues in Experimental Economics. Philosophy of Science 75 (5):633-645.
Chris Starmer (1999). Experiments in Economics: Should We Trust the Dismal Scientists in White Coats? Journal of Economic Methodology 6 (1):1-30.
Morten Søberg (2005). The Duhem‐Quine Thesis and Experimental Economics: A Reinterpretation. Journal of Economic Methodology 12 (4):581-597.
Francesco Guala (2009). Methodological Issues in Experimental Design and Interpretation. In Harold Kincaid & Don Ross (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Economics. Oxford University Press 280--281.
Timo Tammi (1999). Incentives and Preference Reversals: Escape Moves and Community Decisions in Experimental Economics. Journal of Economic Methodology 6 (3):351-380.
Horacio Arló-Costa (2005). Models of Preference Reversals and Personal Rules: Do They Require Maximizing a Utility Function with a Specific Structure? Behavioral and Brain Sciences 28 (5):650-651.
Erik Angner (2002). Levi's Account of Preference Reversals. Economics and Philosophy 18 (2):287-302.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads18 ( #216,548 of 1,934,371 )
Recent downloads (6 months)2 ( #269,537 of 1,934,371 )
How can I increase my downloads?