Omar Al-Ubaydli, John A List
Cited by*: 2 Downloads*: 4

Economists are increasingly turning to the experimental method as a means to estimate causal effects. By using randomization to identify key treatment effects, theories previously viewed as untestable are now scrutinized, efficacy of public policies are now more easily verified, and stakeholders can swiftly add empirical evidence to aid their decision-making. This study provides an overview of experimental methods in economics, with a special focus on developing an economic theory of generalizability. Given that field experiments are in their infancy, our secondary focus pertains to a discussion of the various parameters that they identify, and how they add to scientific knowledge. We conclude that until we conduct more field experiments that build a bridge between the lab and the naturally-occurring settings of interest we cannot begin to make strong conclusions empirically on the crucial question of generalizability from the lab to the field.
Omar Al-Ubaydli, Uri Gneezy, John A List, Min Sok Lee
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A stylized fact is that agents respond more acutely to negative than positive stimuli. Such findings have generated insights on mechanism-design, have been featured prominently in policymaking, and more generally have led to discussions of whether preferences are defined over consumption levels or changes in consumption. This study reconsiders this stylized fact. In doing so, it provides insights into an important domain wherein positive stimuli induce a greater response than negative stimuli: a principal-agent game with reputational considerations and with the agent on the market's short end. This common setting represents an important feature of labor markets with involuntary unemployment.
Omar Al-Ubaydli, Steffen Andersen, Uri Gneezy, John A List
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Constructing compensation schemes for effort in multi-dimensional tasks is complex, particularly when some dimensions are not easily observable. When incentive schemes contractually reward workers for easily observed measures, such as quantity produced, the standard model predicts that unrewarded dimensions, such as quality, will be neglected. Yet, there remains mixed empirical evidence in favor of this standard principal-agent model prediction. This paper reconciles the literature by using both theory and empirical evidence. The theory outlines conditions under which principals can use a piece rate scheme to induce higher quantity and quality levels than analogous fixed wage schemes. Making use of a series of complementary laboratory and field experiments we show that this effect occurs because the agent is uncertain about the principal's monitoring ability and the principal's choice of a piece rate signals to the agent that she is efficient at monitoring.
Omar Al-Ubaydli, John A List
Cited by*: 2 Downloads*: 1

Economists are increasingly turning to the experimental method as a means to estimate causal effects. By using randomization to identify key treatment effects, theories previously viewed as untestable are now scrutinized, efficacy of public policies are now more easily verified, and stakeholders can swiftly add empirical evidence to aid their decision-making. This study provides an overview of experimental methods in economics, with a special focus on developing an economic theory of generalizability. Given that field experiments are in their infancy, our secondary focus pertains to a discussion of the various parameters that they identify, and how they add to scientific knowledge. We conclude that until we conduct more field experiments that build a bridge between the lab and the naturally-occurring settings of interest we cannot begin to make strong conclusions empirically on the crucial question of generalizability from the lab to the field.