Journal of Economic Perspectives: Vol. 8 No. 1 (Winter 1994)


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Economics in the Laboratory

Article Citation

Smith, Vernon L. 1994. "Economics in the Laboratory." Journal of Economic Perspectives, 8(1): 113-131.

DOI: 10.1257/jep.8.1.113


The questions addressed in this paper include: What is a laboratory experiment? What are the reasons why economists conduct such experiments? What have we learned? Among the many findings of experiments are included: institutions (the rules of exchange) matter; optimization in markets is not achieved by conscious calculation; less information is sometimes better; common information is not sufficient to yield common 'knowledge' or expectations; underrevelation is compatible with efficiency; and fairness is a matter of tastes or expectations. Also discussed is the methodological role of experiments in contributing to our knowledge of how things work.

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Smith, Vernon L. (U AZ)

JEL Classifications

C90: Design of Experiments: General
D00: Microeconomics: General


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