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Field experiments and methodological intolerance

Field experiments and methodological intolerance The popularity of field experiments that utilize some form of random evaluation seems to be correlated with increased methodological intolerance. Since correlation is not causation, it may be useful to examine what this intolerance is, why it seems to have developed and how it can be defused. The intolerance takes at least four, related forms. First, there is an identification of the notion of an experiment with the use of some randomization. This is actually just a simple semantic confusion, but colors debate on many other issues. Second, there is an aggressive disconnect from theory, whether it be economic theory or econometric theory. Third, there is unquestioned worship to a narrow concept of causality defined solely in terms of things that can be directly observed. Finally, there is a dismissal of the role of laboratory experiments. I argue against all the four positions. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Economic Methodology Taylor & Francis

Field experiments and methodological intolerance

Journal of Economic Methodology , Volume 20 (2): 15 – Jun 1, 2013

Field experiments and methodological intolerance

Journal of Economic Methodology , Volume 20 (2): 15 – Jun 1, 2013

Abstract

The popularity of field experiments that utilize some form of random evaluation seems to be correlated with increased methodological intolerance. Since correlation is not causation, it may be useful to examine what this intolerance is, why it seems to have developed and how it can be defused. The intolerance takes at least four, related forms. First, there is an identification of the notion of an experiment with the use of some randomization. This is actually just a simple semantic confusion, but colors debate on many other issues. Second, there is an aggressive disconnect from theory, whether it be economic theory or econometric theory. Third, there is unquestioned worship to a narrow concept of causality defined solely in terms of things that can be directly observed. Finally, there is a dismissal of the role of laboratory experiments. I argue against all the four positions.

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References (55)

Publisher
Taylor & Francis
Copyright
Copyright Taylor & Francis Group, LLC
ISSN
1469-9427
eISSN
1350-178X
DOI
10.1080/1350178X.2013.804678
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

The popularity of field experiments that utilize some form of random evaluation seems to be correlated with increased methodological intolerance. Since correlation is not causation, it may be useful to examine what this intolerance is, why it seems to have developed and how it can be defused. The intolerance takes at least four, related forms. First, there is an identification of the notion of an experiment with the use of some randomization. This is actually just a simple semantic confusion, but colors debate on many other issues. Second, there is an aggressive disconnect from theory, whether it be economic theory or econometric theory. Third, there is unquestioned worship to a narrow concept of causality defined solely in terms of things that can be directly observed. Finally, there is a dismissal of the role of laboratory experiments. I argue against all the four positions.

Journal

Journal of Economic MethodologyTaylor & Francis

Published: Jun 1, 2013

Keywords: field experiments; randomized controlled trial; experimental methods

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