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Decision Theoretic Approaches to Experiment Design and External Validity

Abhijit Banerjee, Sylvain Chassang and Erik Snowberg

No 22167, NBER Working Papers from National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc

Abstract: A modern, decision-theoretic framework can help clarify important practical questions of experimental design. Building on our recent work, this chapter begins by summarizing our framework for understanding the goals of experimenters, and applying this to re-randomization. We then use this framework to shed light on questions related to experimental registries, pre-analysis plans, and most importantly, external validity. Our framework implies that even when large samples can be collected, external decision-making remains inherently subjective. We embrace this conclusion, and argue that in order to improve external validity, experimental research needs to create a space for structured speculation.

JEL-codes: B23 C9 O1 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2016-04
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-exp and nep-pke
Note: DEV ED HE LS PE POL
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