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Testing Behavioral Public Economics Theories in the Laboratory

Alm, James


“Behavioral economics,” or the application of methods and evidence from other social sciences to economics, has increased greatly in significance in the last two decades. An important method by which many of its predictions have been tested has been via laboratory experiments. In this paper I survey and assess experimental tests of various applications of behavioral economics to the specific area of public economics, or “behavioral public economics.” I discuss the basic elements of behavioral economics, the methodology of experimental economics, applications of experimental methods to behavioral public economics, and topics in which future applications should prove useful.


Alm, James (2010), Testing Behavioral Public Economics Theories in the Laboratory, National Tax Journal, 63:4, pp. 635-58

DOI: dx.doi.org/10.17310/ntj.2010.4.02