Internal and external validity in experimental games: A social reality check

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Abstract

The relevance of experimental games as methods in development research depends crucially on how far the results from the games can be extrapolated to real life, that is, the external validity of those results. The extent to which external validity matters depends on what you want to do with the data; some kinds of theory testing can arguably afford indifference, but many experiments are used as an indicator of behaviour in everyday life. This article takes an anthropological perspective on both the internal and external validity of social preference experiments in developing country settings, and argues for more cautious knowledge claims, triangulation of data and a broader conceptualisation of norms and behaviour.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)71-88
Number of pages18
JournalEuropean Journal of Development Research
Volume24
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2012

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