NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Field Experiments in Labor Economics

John A. List, Imran Rasul

NBER Working Paper No. 16062
Issued in June 2010
NBER Program(s):   ED   LS

We overview the use of field experiments in labor economics. We showcase studies that highlight the central advantages of this methodology, which include: (i) using economic theory to design the null and alternative hypotheses; (ii) engineering exogenous variation in real world economic environments to establish causal relations and learning about the underlying mechanisms; and (iii) engaging in primary data collection and often working closely with practitioners. To highlight the potential for field experiments to inform issues in labor economics, we organize our discussion around the individual life cycle. We therefore consider field experiments related to the accumulation of human capital, the demand and supply of labor, behavior within firms, and close with a brief discussion of the nascent literature of field experiments related to household decision-making.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w16062

Published: Field Experiments in Labor Economics , joint with John A.List, Chapter 2 in Handbook of Labor Economics Volume 4a, O. Ashenfelter and D. Card (editors), Elsevier, 2011, pp104-228.

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