Behavioral experiments: how and what can we learn about human behavior

Journal of Economic Methodology 16 (1):71-88 (2009)

This paper addresses the experimental trade?off between the exercise of control over the actions of the experimental participants and the potential to provide understanding about human behavior. Control is a requirement of the experimental method to produce pertinent and intelligible results for scientific inquiry. But the more control is exercised the more the experimental results are the outcome of economists' actions. Economic experiments must therefore achieve a difficult balance. They must elicit intelligible behavior while ensuring that the actions of those taking part in the experiment are not determined by the design set?up and the rules of the experiment. The paper puts forward criteria for the analysis of the level of participation of experimental subjects in economics experiments and applies them to several experiments to illustrate the relevance of assessing the agency of experimental participants when deriving inferences about human behavior.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1080/13501780802684278
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 47,283
External links

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

Experiments Versus Models: New Phenomena, Inference and Surprise.Mary S. Morgan - 2005 - Journal of Economic Methodology 12 (2):317-329.
Building Economic Machines: The FCC Auctions.Francesco Guala - 2001 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 32 (3):453-477.

View all 7 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

A Probabilistic Ghost in the Experimental Machine.Dorian Jullien & Nicolas Vallois - 2014 - Journal of Economic Methodology 21 (3):232-250.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Sacredness in an Experimental Chamber.Vladimir A. Lefebvre - 2006 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 29 (2):189-190.
Form and Function in Experimental Design.Alvin E. Roth - 2001 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 24 (3):427-428.
Teleological Behaviorism and Altruism.Hugh Lacey - 2002 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 25 (2):266-267.
On the Limitations of Quasi-Experiments.Terence C. Burnham & Robert Kurzban - 2005 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 28 (6):818-819.
On the Autonomy of Experiments in Economics.Martin K. Jones - 2008 - Journal of Economic Methodology 15 (4):391-407.


Added to PP index

Total views
33 ( #281,630 of 2,290,693 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
2 ( #583,140 of 2,290,693 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes

Sign in to use this feature