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 20: Experimenter demand effects

Jonathan de Quidt, Lise Vesterlund and Alistair J. Wilson

Abstract

Experimenter demand effects refer to behavioral changes that result from participants shifting their response in reaction to an inference on the experimenter’s hypothesis. These effects threaten both the internal and external validity of a study. This threat is taken seriously by experimental economists, who have developed a number of best practices to suppress or eliminate the potential role of such effects. We outline these best practices and review the literature to show that they are followed in the vast majority of published work. This adherence to best practice likely contributes to the limited evidence of such effects uncovered in the literature. Specifically, we are not aware of examples where demand effects have been shown to influence the qualitative inference from a study. While good design goes a long way towards reducing the potential for experimenter demand effects, a complementary option, presented in our final section, is to derive bounds on them.

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