2010 JEBO, On the Methodology of Experimental Economics

J. Barkley Rosser, Catherine Eckel,
Introduction to JEBO special issue on “Issues in the Methodology of Experimental Economics”,
Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization,
Volume 73, Issue 1,
2010,
Pages 1-2,
ISSN 0167-2681,
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jebo.2009.07.017.
(http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0167268109002790)

William S. Neilson,
Lessons from a behavioral economics success story: Comment on theory and experiment: What are the questions?,
Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization,
Volume 73, Issue 1,
2010,
Pages 62-64,
ISSN 0167-2681,
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jebo.2008.10.016.
(http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0167268109002686)

Daniel Houser, Erte Xiao,
Understanding context effects,
Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization,
Volume 73, Issue 1,
2010,
Pages 58-61,
ISSN 0167-2681,
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jebo.2008.01.006.
(http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0167268109002674)

Ken Binmore, Avner Shaked,
Experimental economics: Where next?,
Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization,
Volume 73, Issue 1,
2010,
Pages 87-100,
ISSN 0167-2681,
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jebo.2008.10.019.
(http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0167268109002820)
Abstract: Where should experimental economics go next? This paper uses the literature on inequity aversion as a case study in suggesting that we could profit from tightening up our act.

Jörg Oechssler,
Searching beyond the lamppost: Let’s focus on economically relevant questions,
Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization,
Volume 73, Issue 1,
2010,
Pages 65-67,
ISSN 0167-2681,
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jebo.2008.10.017.
(http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0167268109002698)
Abstract: Experimental economics is in danger of behaving like the famous drunk who searches for his keys under the light even though he lost them in some dark corner. It is argued that we are wasting our time (and endangering the respect that other economists have for experimentalists) by playing too much with some of our favorite toys, like the dictator game, rather than focus on new and economically relevant designs.
Keywords: Economic experiments; Methodology; Dictator game; Bubbles

Glenn W. Harrison,
The behavioral counter-revolution,
Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization,
Volume 73, Issue 1,
2010,
Pages 49-57,
ISSN 0167-2681,
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jebo.2008.11.007.
(http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0167268109002662)

Gary Bolton,
Testing models and internalizing context: A comment on “Theory and Experiment: What are the questions?”,
Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization,
Volume 73, Issue 1,
2010,
Pages 16-20,
ISSN 0167-2681,
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jebo.2009.11.002.
(http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0167268109002595)

Werner Güth, Hartmut Kliemt,
Comments on Vernon Smith’s—“Theory and experiment: What are the Questions?”,
Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization,
Volume 73, Issue 1,
2010,
Pages 44-48,
ISSN 0167-2681,
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jebo.2008.10.015.
(http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0167268109002650)
Abstract: When commenting on Vernon Smith’s inspiring paper, we first argue that game theory in its “reasoning about knowledge” tradition is not truly behavioral and try to categorize different approaches. We then go on by considering specific topics, discussed by Vernon Smith, before concluding with some methodological reflections.
Keywords: Game theory; Behavioral economics; Game and auction experiments; Entitlement; Institutional or mechanism design

Mark Pingle,
Looking under the hood: Exploring assumptions and finding behavioral economics,
Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization,
Volume 73, Issue 1,
2010,
Pages 73-76,
ISSN 0167-2681,
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jebo.2008.10.018.
(http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0167268109002716)
Abstract: Cognitive scarcity is a fundamental economic fact, but the standard maximization assumption abstracts from this fact. Much of behavioral economics can be framed as “exploring the maximization assumption.” By applying the tools of behavioral economics to explore this important assumption, we can learn why presuming maximization works, when it works, even when we know the assumption is not accurately descriptive. We can also learn why theory fails when the assumption does not proximately hold.
Keywords: Bounded rationality, Cognitive scarcity, Deliberation cost, Transactions cost, Assumptions

Vernon L. Smith,
What would Adam Smith think?,
Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization,
Volume 73, Issue 1,
2010,
Pages 83-86,
ISSN 0167-2681,
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jebo.2009.02.020.
(http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S016726810900273X)

David M. Grether,
Comment on Vernon Smith “Theory and experiment: What are the questions?”,
Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization,
Volume 73, Issue 1,
2010,
Pages 41-43,
ISSN 0167-2681,
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jebo.2008.11.006.
(http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0167268109002649)

Elinor Ostrom,
Revising theory in light of experimental findings,
Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization,
Volume 73, Issue 1,
2010,
Pages 68-72,
ISSN 0167-2681,
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jebo.2008.11.008.
(http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0167268109002704)

Bart J. Wilson,
Social preferences aren’t preferences,
Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization,
Volume 73, Issue 1,
2010,
Pages 77-82,
ISSN 0167-2681,
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jebo.2008.09.013.
(http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0167268109002728)
Abstract: Experimental economists robustly observe that people in the laboratory regularly make choices that result in lower payoffs for themselves. When faced with this paradox of preferences, economists posit that there must be two meanings of preferences: preferences for the self and preferences for the social. In this paper I argue that this is an example of economists forcing ordinary human behavior to fit their models. The force of my argument is to confute the notion that an individual’s expression of so-called social preferences as an action can be represented as a set of separable and private utilitarian “preferences” within him.
Keywords: Experimental economics; Semantics of economics; Rhetoric of economics

James C. Cox,
Some issues of methods, theories, and experimental designs,
Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization,
Volume 73, Issue 1,
2010,
Pages 24-28,
ISSN 0167-2681,
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jebo.2009.01.014.
(http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0167268109002613)

Ernst Fehr, Klaus M. Schmidt,
On inequity aversion: A reply to Binmore and Shaked,
Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization,
Volume 73, Issue 1,
2010,
Pages 101-108,
ISSN 0167-2681,
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jebo.2009.12.001.
(http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0167268109002844)
Abstract: In this paper we reply to Binmore and Shaked’s criticism of the Fehr–Schmidt model of inequity aversion. We put the theory and their arguments into perspective and show that their criticism is not substantiated. Finally, we briefly comment on the main challenges for future research on social preferences.
Keywords: Experiments; Other-regarding preferences; Inequity aversion

Gary Charness,
Laboratory experiments: Challenges and promise: A review of “Theory and Experiment: What are the Questions?” by Vernon Smith,
Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization,
Volume 73, Issue 1,
2010,
Pages 21-23,
ISSN 0167-2681,
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jebo.2008.11.005.
(http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0167268109002601)

Ken Binmore, Avner Shaked,
Experimental Economics: Where Next? Rejoinder,
Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization,
Volume 73, Issue 1,
2010,
Pages 120-121,
ISSN 0167-2681,
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jebo.2009.11.008.
(http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0167268109002832)

Herbert Gintis,
Towards a renaissance of economic theory,
Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization,
Volume 73, Issue 1,
2010,
Pages 34-40,
ISSN 0167-2681,
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jebo.2008.09.012.
(http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0167268109002637)

Rachel Croson, Simon Gächter,
The science of experimental economics,
Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization,
Volume 73, Issue 1,
2010,
Pages 122-131,
ISSN 0167-2681,
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jebo.2009.09.008.
(http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0167268109002339)
Abstract: In this paper we present the views of two practicing experimental economists on the role of economic experiments in the science of economics, and in particular on the interaction between economic theory and experimental design and data.
Keywords: Methodology; Experiments; Philosophy of science

Vernon L. Smith,
Theory and experiment: What are the questions?,
Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization,
Volume 73, Issue 1,
2010,
Pages 3-15,
ISSN 0167-2681,
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jebo.2009.02.008. [PDF]
(http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S016726810900033X)
Abstract: This paper deals generally with testing questions that arise both when experimental observations are in accord with the actions we predict, and when they are not. In both cases the inference of truth from observation is inherently ambiguous, and we face the daunting challenge of using our experimental skills and imagination to reduce this ambiguity. Primarily and most difficult of all we have to constantly reevaluate everything, including ourselves, especially in examining how we talk about and interpret our data. Although I will be drawing on examples and experience from laboratory experiments, the issues I consider apply just as meaningfully to other empirical studies whether from field experiments or observations from past records of socioeconomic processes.
Keywords: Experimental economics; Game theory; Methodology of science

Daniel Friedman,
Preferences, beliefs and equilibrium: What have experiments taught us?,
Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization,
Volume 73, Issue 1,
2010,
Pages 29-33,
ISSN 0167-2681,
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jebo.2008.09.011.
(http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0167268109002625)

Catherine Eckel, Herbert Gintis,
Blaming the messenger: Notes on the current state of experimental economics,
Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization,
Volume 73, Issue 1,
2010,
Pages 109-119,
ISSN 0167-2681,
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jebo.2009.03.026.
(http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0167268109002819)
Abstract: Binmore and Shaked (this issue) criticize Fehr and Schmidt’s (1999) model of inequality aversion. We present a considerable body of experimental research supporting the inequality aversion motive. Binmore and Shaked also urge experimentalists to adopt “a more skeptical attitude when far-reaching claims about human behavior are extrapolated from very slender data.” It is true that experimental findings indicate that the standard neoclassical model fails to predict a considerable range of strategic behaviors widely observed in the laboratory, particularly under conditions where normative behavior is prevalent in every-day social life. This is indeed a “far-reaching claim,” but one amply justified by an impressive and constantly growing body of evidence from experiments.
Keywords: Inequality aversion; Neoclassical theory; Experimental

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