Introduction to field experiments in economics with applications to the economics of charity
This paper was published in Experimental Economics in 2008
John A. List
University of Chicago, NBER
This special issue highlights an empirical approach that has increasingly grown in prominence in the last decade—field experiments. While field experiments can be used quite generally in economics—to test theories’ predictions, to measure key parameters, and to provide insights into the generalizability of empirical results— this special issue focuses on using field experiments to explore questions within the economics of charity. The issue contains six distinct field experimental studies that investigate various aspects associated with the economics of charitable giving. The issue also includes a fitting tribute to one of the earliest experimenters to depart from traditional lab methods, Peter Bohm, who curiously has not received deep credit or broad acclaim. Hopefully this issue will begin to rectify this oversight.