Handbook of Research Methods and Applications in Experimental Economics
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Handbook of Research Methods and Applications in Experimental Economics

Edited by Arthur Schram and Aljaž Ule

This volume offers a comprehensive review of experimental methods in economics. Its 21 chapters cover theoretical and practical issues such as incentives, theory and policy development, data analysis, recruitment, software and laboratory organization. The Handbook includes separate parts on procedures, field experiments and neuroeconomics, and provides the first methodological overview of replication studies and a novel set-valued equilibrium concept. As a whole, the combination of basic methods and current developments will aid both beginners and advanced experimental economists.
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Chapter 7: Randomization in field experiments

Noemi Peter and Adriaan R. Soetevent

Abstract

This chapter discusses several important topics related to randomization in field experiments. In the field, researchers face constraints in the design they can implement and/or the type of data that can be collected. The chapter looks at such constraints from the point of view of randomization. We discuss challenges posed by these constraints and possible ways to tackle them, illustrated with examples from articles published in top economics journals. We review how randomization can help to estimate treatment effects. We discuss how treatment spillovers that invalidate stable unit treatment value assumption (SUTVA) can be addressed by choosing different levels of randomization. We pay attention to implementation and practical issues that matter in selecting the level of randomization, and to the use of covariates in the design and analysis stage. We also discuss how insufficient control of the assignment mechanism or partial treatment compliance may lead to failures, and how such failures can be prevented.

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