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Theory and experiment: What are the questions?

Vernon Smith

Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, 2010, vol. 73, issue 1, 3-15

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 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2010
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