How Experiments with Children Inform Economics
John A. List
Journal of Economic Literature
no. 2, June 2023
In the past several decades, the experimental method has lent deep insights into economics. One area that has contributed is the experimental study of children, where advances as varied as the evolution of human behaviors
that shape markets and institutions to how early life influences shape later life outcomes, have been explored. We first develop a framework for economic preference measurement that provides a lens into how to interpret data
from experiments with children. Next, we survey work that provides general empirical insights within our framework and provide a comprehensive summary of experimental methods used with children. Finally, we provide 10
tips for pulling off experiments with children, including factors such as taking into account child competencies, causal identification, and logistical issues related to recruitment and implementation. We envision the experimental
study of children as a high-growth research area in the coming decades as social scientists begin to more fully appreciate that children are active participants in markets who (might) respond predictably to economic incentives.
List, John A., Ragan Petrie, and Anya Samek.
"How Experiments with Children Inform Economics."
Journal of Economic Literature,
Design of Experiments: General
Consumer Economics: Theory
Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
Micro-Based Behavioral Economics: Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making
Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification