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Experimental Economics

From Models to Experiments (invited, with Daniel Houser)

in James M. Buchanan: A Theorist of Political Economy and Social Philosophy. Ed. Richard E. Wagner. London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2018: 921-37.

Buchanan’s work, and in particular The Calculus of Consent, which he wrote with Gordon Tullock, has been foundational in the field of public choice. One of his students, Charles Plott, became a pioneer with multiple seminal contributions in the field of experimental public choice. In this chapter we focus on Buchanan’s work on decision making under majority rule, and any influence it may have had on Plott. While Buchanan and Tullock address environments with single decisions, they focus much more on decision making under repeated votes, a topic they found of great interest. Plott’s seminal 1978 paper with Morris Fiorina, however, focuses on single decisions. It may seem puzzling, then, that Plott has often suggested Buchanan’s influence on his work. We offer a resolution to this puzzle.

Penultimate draft

Experimental Economics’ Inconsistent Ban on Deception

Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A (2015), 52: 13–19.
According to what I call the ‘argument from public bads’, if a researcher deceived subjects in the past, there is a chance that subjects will discount the information that a subsequent researcher provides, thus compromising the validity of the subsequent researcher’s experiment. While this argument is taken to justify an existing informal ban on explicit deception in experimental economics, it can also apply to implicit deception, yet implicit deception is not banned and is sometimes used in experimental economics. Thus, experimental economists are being inconsistent when they appeal to the argument from public bads to justify banning explicit deception but not implicit deception.

Penultimate draft

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