Handbook of Field Experiments

Handbook of Field Experiments

1st Edition - March 21, 2017

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  • Editors: Esther Duflo, Abhijit Banerjee
  • eBook ISBN: 9780444633255
  • Hardcover ISBN: 9780444633248

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Handbook of Field Experiments provides tactics on how to conduct experimental research, also presenting a comprehensive catalog on new results from research and areas that remain to be explored. This updated addition to the series includes an entire chapters on field experiments, the politics and practice of social experiments, the methodology and practice of RCTs, and the econometrics of randomized experiments. These topics apply to a wide variety of fields, from politics, to education, and firm productivity, providing readers with a resource that sheds light on timely issues, such as robustness and external validity. Separating itself from circumscribed debates of specialists, this volume surpasses in usefulness the many journal articles and narrowly-defined books written by practitioners.

Key Features

  • Balances methodological insights with analyses of principal findings and suggestions for further research
  • Appeals broadly to social scientists seeking to develop an expertise in field experiments
  • Strives to be analytically rigorous
  • Written in language that is accessible to graduate students and non-specialist economists


Graduate students and professionals in all fields of economics worldwide

Table of Contents

  • Chapter 1. An Introduction to the "Handbook of Field Experiments"
    A. Banerjee, E. Duflo

    • 1. The Impact on the Way We Do Research
    • 2. The Impact on the Way We Think About the World
    • 3. Conclusion

    Section I. Some Historical Background

    Chapter 2. The Politics and Practice of Social Experiments: Seeds of a Revolution
    J.M. Gueron

    • 1. Why Focus on Welfare?
    • 2. Why Experiment?
    • 3. The Story
    • 4. Major Challenges
    • 5. Demonstrating Feasibility: The National Supported Work Demonstration
    • 6. Social Experiments Reincarnated as a Partnership: Testing Feasibility Anew by Evaluating State Initiatives
    • 7. Using Randomized Controlled Trials to Test Full-Scale Programs: The Fight Got Tougher
    • 8. What Works Best? A Multiarm Test of Labor Force Attachment versus Human Capital Development
    • 9. The Momentum Shifts
    • 10. Useful and Used
    • 11. Lessons and Challenges

    Section II. Methodology and Practice of RCTs

    Chapter 3. The Econometrics of Randomized Experiments
    S. Athey and G.W. Imbens

    • 1. Introduction
    • 2. Randomized Experiments and Validity
    • 3. The Potential Outcome/Rubin Causal Model Framework for Causal Inference
    • 4. The Analysis of Completely Randomized Experiments
    • 5. Randomization Inference and Regression Estimators
    • 6. The Analysis of Stratified and Paired Randomized Experiments
    • 7. The Design of Randomized Experiments and the Benefits of Stratification
    • 8. The Analysis of Clustered Randomized Experiments
    • 9. Noncompliance in Randomized Experiments
    • 10. Heterogenous Treatment Effects and Pretreatment Variables
    • 11. Experiments in Settings With Interactions
    • 12. Conclusion

    Chapter 4. Decision Theoretic Approaches to Experiment Design and External Validity
    A. Banerjee, S. Chassang, E. Snowberg

    • 1. Introduction
    • 2. The Framework
    • 3. Perspectives on Experimental Design
    • 4. Rerandomization, Registration, and Preanalysis
    • 5. External Validity
    • 6. Structured Speculation
    • 7. Issues of Particular Interest
    • 8. Conclusion

    Chapter 5. The Practicalities of Running Randomized Evaluations: Partnerships, Measurement, Ethics, and Transparency
    R. Glennerster

    • 1. Collaboration Between Researchers and Implementers
    • 2. Preparing for Practical Pitfalls in Field Experiments
    • 3. Ethics
    • 4. Transparency of Research
    • 5. Conclusion

    Chapter 6. The Psychology of Construal in the Design of Field Experiments
    E.L. Paluck and E. Shafir

    • 1. Introduction
    • 2. Pilot: Seek Shared Construal of Behavior and the Situation Between Investigators and Participants
    • 3. Design: Ensure the Intervention Design, Measurement, and Deployment Achieve Shared Construal Between Investigators and Participants
    • 4. Interpret: How Do Investigators Construe What Matters in the Data?
    • 5. Concluding Thoughts

    Section III. Understanding Preferences and Preference Change

    Chapter 7. Field Experiments in Markets
    O. Al-Ubaydli and J.A. List

    • 1. Introduction
    • 2. Preamble
    • 3. Main Results
    • 4. Methodological Insights
    • 5. Closing Remarks

    Chapter 8. Field Experiments on Discrimination
    M. Bertrand and E. Duflo

    • 1. Introduction
    • 2. Measuring Discrimination in the Field
    • 3. Consequences of Discrimination
    • 4. What Affects Discrimination?
    • 5. Conclusion

    Chapter 9. Field Experiments on Voter Mobilization: An Overview of a Burgeoning Literature
    A.S. Gerber and D.P. Green

    • 1. Intellectual Context for Emergence of Field Experiments in Political Science
    • 2. How Do Experiments Address the Problems in the Prior Voter Turnout Research?
    • 3. An Overview of the Experimental Literature on Voter Mobilization
    • 4. The Effect of Messaging

    Chapter 10. Lab in the Field: Measuring Preferences in the Wild
    U. Gneezy and A. Imas

    • 1. Theoretically-Relevant Populations
    • 2. Using Lab-in-the Field for Collecting Covariates as Complements to RCTs and for Targeting Policy
    • 3. Comparing Between Contexts and Cultures
    • 4. External Validity
    • 5. Conclusion

    Chapter 11. Field Experiments in Marketing
    D. Simester

    • 1. Papers that Report Field Experiments
    • 2. Pricing Topics
    • 3. Advertising Topics
    • 4. Product-Related Topics
    • 5. Model Validation
    • 6. Other Topics
    • 7. Designing Experiments and Future Topics
    • 8. Conclusions
    • Appendix: Summary of the Papers

Product details

  • No. of pages: 528
  • Language: English
  • Copyright: © North Holland 2017
  • Published: March 21, 2017
  • Imprint: North Holland
  • eBook ISBN: 9780444633255
  • Hardcover ISBN: 9780444633248

About the Editors

Esther Duflo

Esther Duflo is the Abdul Latif Jameel Professor of Poverty Alleviation and Development Economics, and a founder and Director of the Abudl Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab. She is a recipient of the John Bates Clark Medal and a MacArthur Fellowship.

Affiliations and Expertise

Abdul Latif Jameel Professor of Poverty Alleviation and Development Economics, Massachusettes Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, USA

Abhijit Banerjee

Ford Foundation Professor of Economics, MIT.

Affiliations and Expertise

Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, USA

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