Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


As in other sciences, an economic experiment is an artificial situation created by a researcher for the purpose of answering one or more scientific questions. Experiments of various types are used in economics to understand the causes of poverty and how it might be alleviated. The methods can identify causal relationships between variables and thereby isolate factors that can lead to poverty as well as to document the behavioral consequences of poverty. Experiments can also be used to provide test beds for proposed policies to alleviate poverty. This essay describes a variety of ways in which experiments have been employed to understand and combat poverty. A line of laboratory experiments that considers which economic institutions are conducive to economic growth is discussed in detail. The results show that decentralized markets are conducive to allowing an economy to operate as efficiently as it can. However, in an economy with a theoretical poverty trap, the market works more efficiently if accompanied by a democratic voting process and freedom of communication.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)36-54
Number of pages19
JournalSocial Philosophy and Policy
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 5 2023


  • economic growth
  • experiment
  • institution
  • laboratory
  • poverty

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Philosophy
  • General Social Sciences


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