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A Theory of Experimenters

Abhijit Banerjee, Sylvain Chassang, Sergio Montero and Erik Snowberg

No 23867, NBER Working Papers from National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc

Abstract: This paper proposes a decision-theoretic framework for experiment design. We model experimenters as ambiguity-averse decision-makers, who make trade-offs between subjective expected performance and robustness. This framework accounts for experimenters' preference for randomization, and clarifies the circumstances in which randomization is optimal: when the available sample size is large enough or robustness is an important concern. We illustrate the practical value of such a framework by studying the issue of rerandomization. Rerandomization creates a trade-off between subjective performance and robustness. However, robustness loss grows very slowly with the number of times one randomizes. This argues for rerandomizing in most environments.

JEL-codes: C90 D81 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2017-09
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-exp, nep-ore and nep-upt
Note: DEV ED HC HE LS PE POL
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