From Theory to Experiments in Economics

21 de febrero de 2014    |  

In this interview, Charles R. Plott describes the beginnings of his work in experimental economics, and his involvement in the shift between theory to practical testing in the field. His interest was sparked by a strong sense of curiosity for the use of public goods and externalities to solve collective problems. His revolutionaryinput consisted in deciding to test these theories, in a field where no experiments had been done before.

Plott describes how his initial work was influenced by Ronald Coase’s teachings on how to be a careful scientist, and James Buchanan’s ideas on changing institutional design. His partnership with Vernon Smith at California Tech lead him to explore the field of markets, and to expand from the realms of political science.

For Plott, there is no true difference between controlled environments and the real world. His interest lies in testing whether the principles that are guiding us are reliable. His discoveries in the lab have led him to re-design settings where original institutional policies prevent the growth of markets. Plott envisions an amazing future for experimental economics, with the opportunity to create unprecedented institutions that no one thought could exist.


Nuestra misión es la enseñanza y difusión de los principios éticos, jurídicos y económicos de una sociedad de personas libres y responsables.

Universidad Francisco Marroquín