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What Mechanism Design Theorists Had to Say About Laboratory Experimentation in the Mid-1980s

The Center for the History of Political Economy Working Paper Series No. 2013-18

48 Pages Posted: 11 Jan 2014  

Kyu Sang Lee

Ajou University

Date Written: December 9, 2013

Abstract

Thanks to the recent studies of the history and philosophy of experimental economics, it is well known that around the early 1980s, experimental economists made a case for the legitimacy of their laboratory work by emphasizing that it was a nice and indispensable complement to mechanism design theorists’ mathematical study of institutions. The present paper examines what mechanism design theorists thought of laboratory experimentation, or whether they were willing to form a coalition with experimental economists circa the mid-1980s. By exploring several dimensions of the relationship between mechanism design theory and experimental economics, the present paper shows that a close rapport had been established by the early 1980s between the representative members of the two camps, and also that mechanism design theorists were among the strongest supporters of laboratory experimentation in the economics profession in the mid-1980s.

Keywords: mechanism design theory, experimental economics, institutional design, Stanley Reiter, Vernon Smith, Charles Plott

JEL Classification: B2, C90, D82

Suggested Citation

Lee, Kyu Sang, What Mechanism Design Theorists Had to Say About Laboratory Experimentation in the Mid-1980s (December 9, 2013). The Center for the History of Political Economy Working Paper Series No. 2013-18 . Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2376806 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2376806

Kyu Sang Lee (Contact Author)

Ajou University ( email )

Department of Economics, Ajou University
Suwon
Korea, Republic of (South Korea)

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