Economic Field Experiments Complement Understanding of Judgment Bias

Bargaining in an open-air market. Making trades at a sports memorabilia show. Monitoring price changes on a ride-sharing app. Every day, people in real-world marketplaces make choices using decision-making biases similar to those explored by psychological scientists in laboratory settings. And field experiments in such contexts “can serve an invaluable intellectual role alongside traditional laboratory research,” John List proposed in a recent review in Current Directions in Psychological Science. Moreover, “fundamental tenets in economics, such as the law of demand, might have deeper psychological underpinnings than most people believe.”

List is a professor of economics at the University of Chicago whose insights from field experiments have influenced areas from education to corporate social responsibility to government policy.

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