33 - Th ( StefanoDellaVigna UCBerkeleyandNBER...

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The Role of Theory in Field Experiments (Lecture for Economics 196) Stefano DellaVigna UC Berkeley and NBER January 26, 2011 Question y Empirical economists live between two worlds y We learn and teach economics as grounded in theory y utility maximization, y profit maximization, y supply and demand y We aim to provide empirical facts and policy guidance y How compatible are the two aspects? y What role does theory play in empirical research? y We focus on a fast growing area–field experiments. y We compare to laboratory experiments.
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Overview 1. We document the use of theory in laboratory and field experiments published in the top five journals (AER, QJE, JPE, EMA, REStud) from 1985 to 2010 2. We categorize experiments y Previous taxonomy (Harrison and List 2004) silent Previous taxonomy (Harrison and List, 2004) silent about use of theory. y We propose a categorization into four groups. 3. We illustrate the role of theory with three examples y Gift exchange y Altruism and social pressure in charitable giving y NIT labor experiments Documenting the Use of Theory in Experiments y Teaser Question : How many field experiments have been published since 1985?
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Documenting the Use of Theory in Experiments y Teaser Question : How many field experiments have been published since 1985? Ct l fd d “ tl ” fi ld it y Count only framed and natural field experiments (Harrison and List, 2004) y Include social experiments (e.g., MTO) y Include re analysis of existing experimental data if using micro data (not reproducing a Table) y Exclude cases where randomization not designed to compare treatment and control group (e.g., peer effect studies, lottery winners) Documenting the Use of Theory in Experiments y Teaser Question : How many field experiments have been published since 1985? [88]
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Documenting the Use of Theory in Experiments y Teaser Question : How many field experiments have been published since 1985? [88] y How many lab experiments? y Count conventional lax experiments and “artefactual” field experiments (‘lab experiments in the field’) Documenting the Use of Theory in Experiments y Teaser Question : How many field experiments have been published since 1985? [88] y How many lab experiments? [277] y Significantly more labexperiments than field experiments y Before 1995 Before 1995: y Almost no field experiments y About 10 lab experiments in top journals per year y After 1995: y Strong increase for both y Recently about 10 field experiments and 20 lab experiments Recently, about 10 field experiments , and 20 lab experiments, published per year
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Count of top 5 Field and Lab Experiments Number of lab experiments Number of field experiments Count of top 5 Field and Lab Experiments y AER counts for disproportionate share of lab experiments published y Patterns are otherwise similar for all top 5 journals
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Count of top 5 Field and Lab Experiments 0 1985 1990 1995 2000 2005 2010 Year Number of lab experiments Number of field experiments 1985 1990 1995 2000 2005 2010 Year Number of lab experiments Number of field experiments 1985 1990 1995 2000 2005 2010 Year Number of lab experiments
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This note was uploaded on 03/18/2011 for the course ECON 196 taught by Professor Pierre during the Spring '10 term at Berkeley.

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33 - Th ( StefanoDellaVigna UCBerkeleyandNBER...

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