On the autonomy of experiments in economics

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    Most methodological discussion in experimental economics has been pursued by justifying the use of experiments as theory-testing vehicles. More recently, it has also been argued that the external validity of experiments requires the use of non-experimental field studies. Therefore, it has been proposed, experiments are intermediaries between theories and field evidence. In this paper it is argued that this picture of experiments is mistaken in the general case and that experiments can be justifiably undertaken as autonomous vehicles of discovery, independently of theory-testing or field studies.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)391
    Number of pages407
    JournalJournal of Economic Methodology
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 2008


    • Autonomy
    • Experiments
    • External validity
    • Theory testing


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