Economics, Literature and Scepticism

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I am a PhD student in Economics. I am originally from South Africa and plan to return there after my PhD. I completed my M. Comm in Economics and my MA In Creative Writing (Poetry) at the University of Cape Town, where I worked as a lecturer before starting my PhD.

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Wednesday, July 16, 2008

John List on Field Experiments

Posted by Simon Halliday | Wednesday, July 16, 2008 | Category: |

Prof. John ListJohn List reviews work on experiments in the most recent issue of Science. The paper is available in the perspectives section of the journal (gated). It is a very short article, basically one page, but in this short time he summarizes the themes and the drives for fieldwork, and for complementary laboratory work, in economics.
The article summarizes motivations behind the work well, obviously using some of List's own work. Were it anyone less capable writing the article and citing their own work I'd be a bit more sceptical, but List is a mammoth when it comes to understanding and working with field experiments. He also references James J. Heckman, on whom I commented recently in my discussions of education. Heckman (Nobel Laureate) has done substantial amounts of work in Education and Econometrics. The Econometrically inclined Heckman is the one he references using Heckman's forthcoming discussion of the understanding of causation.

A brief comment on List, he is one of the most prolific writers in economics that you will ever come across. You experience one of those genuine, 'How the hell does he do it, does he sleep, ever?' moments when you view his publications page.

I would recommend that anyone interested in a basic understanding of fieldwork have a look at the Science paper, it offers some good insights into the method.

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