In the weekly policy commentary by Resources for the Future October 15 John List discusses What Can Policymakers Learn from Experimental Economics?
Here is an excerpt:
“Experimental research now under way in the field demonstrates that there is much to be gained from designing economic experiments that span the bridge between the laboratory and the world outside, with important implications for economics. Examples include developing new auction formats to distribute pollution permits, exploring compensation mechanisms in social dilemmas, such as what is necessary for many endangered species cases, and examining efficient means to provide public goods. What has become clear in this process is that field experiments can play an important role in the discovery process by allowing us to make stronger inference than we could make from lab or uncontrolled data alone. Similar to the spirit in which astronomy draws on the insights from particle physics and classical mechanics to make sharper insights, field experiments can help to provide the necessary behavioral principles to permit sharper policy advice.”