Discussion Paper Details

Please find the details for DP7620 in an easy to copy and paste format below:

Full Details   |   Bibliographic Reference

Full Details

Title: Lab Experiments are a Major Source of Knowledge in the Social Sciences

Author(s): Armin Falk and James J Heckman

Publication Date: January 2010

Keyword(s): controlled variation, field experiments and laboratory experiments

Programme Area(s): Labour Economics

Abstract: Laboratory experiments are a widely used methodology for advancing causal knowledge in the physical and life sciences. With the exception of psychology, the adoption of laboratory experiments has been much slower in the social sciences, although during the last two decades, the use of lab experiments has accelerated. Nonetheless, there remains considerable resistance among social scientists who argue that lab experiments lack "realism" and "generalizability". In this article we discuss the advantages and limitations of laboratory social science experiments by comparing them to research based on nonexperimental data and to field experiments. We argue that many recent objections against lab experiments are misguided and that even more lab experiments should be conducted.

For full details and related downloads, please visit:

Bibliographic Reference

Falk, A and Heckman, J. 2010. 'Lab Experiments are a Major Source of Knowledge in the Social Sciences'. London, Centre for Economic Policy Research.