Experimental Methods at Universität Konstanz | Flashcards & Summaries

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Lernmaterialien für Experimental Methods an der Universität Konstanz

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What is an economic experiment?
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is a controlled economic environment in which experimental subjects make decisions that the experimenter record for the purpose of scientific analysis 

economic experiment with e.g. monetary incentives is economic reality, bc decisions have economic effects
surveys are not economic experiments bc no economic decisions are involved 
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TESTE DEIN WISSEN
Why don’t we just look at the ‚real‘ world?
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TESTE DEIN WISSEN
Costs and utilities are often unknown and change over time
In experiments we can set a specific value for them and run ceteris-paribus comparisons
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TESTE DEIN WISSEN
Advantages over field data
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TESTE DEIN WISSEN
In the field…
…equilibrium is not known
…cost and utility may change
…market institutions are much more complex than in theory
…there is no repetition (variance!)
…there is no deliberate manipulation (causality!)
…control for nuisance variables is often difficult to impossible 
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TESTE DEIN WISSEN
Advantages over theory 
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TESTE DEIN WISSEN
in building theory…
…one has to make technical assumptions
…behavioural assumptions may be wrong 
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TESTE DEIN WISSEN
Most important property of experiments
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TESTE DEIN WISSEN
We can construct any type of environment 
—> Experimenter CONTROLS the environment 
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experimental control
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  • isolate true causes by ceteris-paribus changes in exogenous variables
  • rule out selection bias by assigning participants randomly to treatment conditions
  • make causal inferences bc it is clear which variables are exogenous/endogenous 
  • can observe many variables that are not directly observable in the field
  • we have control over information conditions
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TESTE DEIN WISSEN
Why is experimental control important?
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TESTE DEIN WISSEN
Control often allows for point predictions 
better direkt controls often substitute complicated econometrics
to enhance replicability
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TESTE DEIN WISSEN
Induced value theory
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TESTE DEIN WISSEN
Key idea: proper use of a reward medium (money) allows an experimenter to induce pre-specific characteristics, and the subjects innate characteristics become largely irrelevant 
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TESTE DEIN WISSEN
Conditions for a reward medium to create simplified economic realty 
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TESTE DEIN WISSEN
  • monotonicity (non-satiation) - people like to have money
  • Salience - reward depends on actions in the right way & participants understand how
  • Dominance - changes in utility from the experiment come mainly from changes of reward medium
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TESTE DEIN WISSEN
Limits of experiments
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TESTE DEIN WISSEN
  • Control is never complete (weather, environmen)
  • Experiment is not general always an example (vs. theory)
  • not all types of preferences can be induced (health issues, long time periods - vs. Field evidence)
    • external validity, generalisability 

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TESTE DEIN WISSEN
Internal validity
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TESTE DEIN WISSEN
do the data permit casual inferences?
internal validity is a question of proper experimental controls and correct data analysis
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TESTE DEIN WISSEN
What are we interested in?
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TESTE DEIN WISSEN
We distinguish between positive and normative theories.
Normative theories are like a benchmark or a first approximation 
We want to know Jon actual behaviour deviates from the theory: interaction of positive and normative theories
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Q:
What is an economic experiment?
A:
is a controlled economic environment in which experimental subjects make decisions that the experimenter record for the purpose of scientific analysis 

economic experiment with e.g. monetary incentives is economic reality, bc decisions have economic effects
surveys are not economic experiments bc no economic decisions are involved 
Q:
Why don’t we just look at the ‚real‘ world?
A:
Costs and utilities are often unknown and change over time
In experiments we can set a specific value for them and run ceteris-paribus comparisons
Q:
Advantages over field data
A:
In the field…
…equilibrium is not known
…cost and utility may change
…market institutions are much more complex than in theory
…there is no repetition (variance!)
…there is no deliberate manipulation (causality!)
…control for nuisance variables is often difficult to impossible 
Q:
Advantages over theory 
A:
in building theory…
…one has to make technical assumptions
…behavioural assumptions may be wrong 
Q:
Most important property of experiments
A:
We can construct any type of environment 
—> Experimenter CONTROLS the environment 
Mehr Karteikarten anzeigen
Q:
experimental control
A:
  • isolate true causes by ceteris-paribus changes in exogenous variables
  • rule out selection bias by assigning participants randomly to treatment conditions
  • make causal inferences bc it is clear which variables are exogenous/endogenous 
  • can observe many variables that are not directly observable in the field
  • we have control over information conditions
Q:
Why is experimental control important?
A:
Control often allows for point predictions 
better direkt controls often substitute complicated econometrics
to enhance replicability
Q:
Induced value theory
A:
Key idea: proper use of a reward medium (money) allows an experimenter to induce pre-specific characteristics, and the subjects innate characteristics become largely irrelevant 
Q:
Conditions for a reward medium to create simplified economic realty 
A:
  • monotonicity (non-satiation) - people like to have money
  • Salience - reward depends on actions in the right way & participants understand how
  • Dominance - changes in utility from the experiment come mainly from changes of reward medium
Q:
Limits of experiments
A:
  • Control is never complete (weather, environmen)
  • Experiment is not general always an example (vs. theory)
  • not all types of preferences can be induced (health issues, long time periods - vs. Field evidence)
    • external validity, generalisability 

Q:
Internal validity
A:
do the data permit casual inferences?
internal validity is a question of proper experimental controls and correct data analysis
Q:
What are we interested in?
A:
We distinguish between positive and normative theories.
Normative theories are like a benchmark or a first approximation 
We want to know Jon actual behaviour deviates from the theory: interaction of positive and normative theories
Experimental Methods

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