Experiments in Modern Economics – Expansion and Technological and Institutional Innovations in the U.S.
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Poznań University of Economics and Business
Publication date: 2023-03-28
Ekonomista 2023;(1):78–101
Experimental economics emerged during the mid-20th century and was created through a combination of the experimental methodology employed in psychology and new advancements in economic theory. Early studies utilizing experimental approaches were conducted on bargaining behavior, social dilemmas, individual decision-making, and market institutions, but experienced a lengthy period of underground growth prior to flourishing in the 21st century. The contemporary state of experimental economics is characterized by a surge of new data sources, the adoption of innovative measurement techniques, the implementation of underutilized experimental designs, advancements in statistical methodologies, increased discussions on robustness and generalizability, and the extensive application of experiments to various fields of study (Druckman, Green, 2021). The main aim of this paper is to outline the evolution of experimental economics, describe contemporary experimental methods, highlight the technological and institutional innovations that support experimentation, particularly in the United States, and identify the primary challenges that exist for the further development of this methodology. It is argued that experimental methods are more commonly employed in the U.S. due to factors such as access to low-cost data collection tools, institutional support, and the emphasis on interdisciplinary research.
This paper is a result of a 1-year Bekker scholarship at Northwestern University in the United States, financed by the National Agency for Academic Exchange in Poland. During this stay the author participated in Improving Evaluations of R&D in STEM Education 2021 Summer Institute, organized by the Institute for Policy Research at NU, and attended lectures on Experimental Political Science with James N. Druckman. The author is very grateful to Jamie Druckman for his helpful advice and insightful comments on this paper.