Belief Elicitation in the Lab

Annual Review of Economics, Vol. 6, DOI: 10.1146/annurev-economics-080213-040927, Sept. 2014, Forthcoming

50 Pages Posted: 29 Aug 2013

See all articles by Andrew Schotter

Andrew Schotter

New York University (NYU) - Department of Economics

Isabel Trevino

University of California, San Diego (UCSD) - Department of Economics; New York University (NYU)

Date Written: August 29, 2013

Abstract

One constraint we face as economists is not being able to observe all the relevant variables required to test our theories or make policy prescriptions. Laboratory techniques allow us to convert many variables (such as beliefs) that are unobservable in the field into observables. This paper presents a survey of the literature on belief elicitation in laboratory experimental economics. We discuss several techniques available to elicit beliefs in an incentive compatible manner and the problems involved in using them. We then look at how successful these techniques have been when employed in laboratory studies. We find that despite some problems, beliefs elicited in the lab are meaningful, i.e. they are generally used as the basis for behavior and the process of eliciting beliefs seems to be not too intrusive. One hope for the future is that by eliciting beliefs we may be able to develop better theories of belief formation.

Keywords: belief elicitation, experiments, decision theory

JEL Classification: C91, C72

Suggested Citation

Schotter, Andrew and Trevino, Isabel, Belief Elicitation in the Lab (August 29, 2013). Annual Review of Economics, Vol. 6, DOI: 10.1146/annurev-economics-080213-040927, Sept. 2014, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2317983

Andrew Schotter (Contact Author)

New York University (NYU) - Department of Economics ( email )

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Isabel Trevino

University of California, San Diego (UCSD) - Department of Economics ( email )

9500 Gilman Drive
La Jolla, CA 92093-0508
United States

New York University (NYU) ( email )

Bobst Library, E-resource Acquisitions
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New York, NY 10003-711
United States

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