How Experiments with Children Inform Economics

107 Pages Posted: 25 May 2021

See all articles by John A. List

John A. List

University of Chicago - Department of Economics

Ragan Petrie

Texas A&M University - Department of Economics; University of Melbourne - Melbourne Institute: Applied Economic & Social Research

Anya Samek

University of California, San Diego (UCSD) - Rady School of Management; Center for Economic and Social Research (CESR)

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: May 24, 2021

Abstract

In the past several decades the experimental method has lent deep insights into economics. One perhaps surprising area that has contributed is the experimental study of children, where advances as varied as the evolution of human behaviors that shape markets and institutions, to how early life influences shape later life outcomes, have been explored. We first develop a framework for economic preference measurement that provides a lens into how to interpret data from experiments with children. Next, we survey work that provides general empirical insights within our framework. Finally, we provide 10 tips for pulling off experiments with children, including factors such as taking into account child competencies, causal identification, and logistical issues related to recruitment and implementation. We envision the experimental study of children as a high growth research area in the coming decades as social scientists begin to more fully appreciate that children are active participants in markets who (might) respond predictably to economic incentives.

JEL Classification: C9,D1,J1

Suggested Citation

List, John A. and Petrie, Ragan and Samek, Anya, How Experiments with Children Inform Economics (May 24, 2021). University of Chicago, Becker Friedman Institute for Economics Working Paper No. 2021-62, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3852159 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3852159

John A. List (Contact Author)

University of Chicago - Department of Economics ( email )

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Ragan Petrie

Texas A&M University - Department of Economics ( email )

4228 TAMU
College Station, TX 77843-4228
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University of Melbourne - Melbourne Institute: Applied Economic & Social Research ( email )

Level 5, FBE Building, 111 Barry Street
Parkville, Victoria 3010
Australia

Anya Samek

University of California, San Diego (UCSD) - Rady School of Management ( email )

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Rady School of Management
La Jolla, CA 92093-0553
United States

HOME PAGE: http://anyasamek.com

Center for Economic and Social Research (CESR) ( email )

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