Published on Vox; coauthored with John List
Lab and field experiments help us understand human behavior as they increase our confidence in causal effects in regard to different economic problems. This column highlights the relevance of experimental data and discusses the value of lab in comparison to field experiments. While lab experiments are the only applicable way-to-go in a number of situations, they tend to inflate scrutiny. This could artificially modify behavior, and would potentially threaten the causal interpretation of the estimates. The debate about lab versus field experiments is far from settled. However, what economists do agree about is that to obtain convincing causal effects relating to human behavior, a joint consideration of a number of methods would be superior to using any single one in isolation. Continue
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