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Experimental methods: Measuring effort in economics experiments

Gary Charness (), Uri Gneezy and Austin Henderson

Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, 2018, vol. 149, issue C, 74-87

Abstract: The study of effort provision in a controlled setting is a key research area in experimental economics. There are two major methodological paradigms in this literature: stated effort and real effort. In the stated-effort paradigm the researcher uses an “effort function” that maps choices to outcomes. In the real-effort paradigm, participants work on a task, and outcomes depend on their performance. The advantage of the stated-effort design is the control the researcher has over the cost of effort, which is particularly useful when testing theory. The advantage of the real-effort design is that it may be a better match to the field environment, particularly with respect to psychological aspects that affect behavior. An open question in the literature is the degree to which the results obtained by the two paradigms differ, and if they do, why. We present a review of methods used and discuss the results obtained from using these different approaches, and issues to consider when choosing and implementing a task.

Keywords: Stated effort; Real effort; Timing of decisions; Goal-orientation; Experimental methodology (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: B49 C90 C91 C92 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:149:y:2018:i:c:p:74-87

DOI: 10.1016/j.jebo.2018.02.024

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Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization is currently edited by Houser, D. and Puzzello, D.

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