‘Doing’ Laboratory Experiments: An Ethnomethodological Study of the Performative Practice in Behavioral Economic Research

  • Juliane Böhme
Chapter
Part of the Perspectives from Social Economics book series (PSE)

Abstract

This chapter focuses on the research practice in a behavioral economics laboratory setting. The ethnomethodological perspective is used to direct the attention to the ethnomethods or performative practices generating the situation in the laboratory. I outlined some detailed field observations to illustrate how economists not only produce laboratory situations in accordance with their research methods and the scientific rules of their epistemic community. I also show how these situations are challenged, tested, and sustained by the equally performative behavior of compliant or non-compliant participants, by carrot and stick through punishment and payment. I will argue that economists not only study but also (re-)produce the economic rational actor model and its defining elements. The economists’ rational actor thus matches the practices of his creation and has to be viewed as an empirical phenomenon from the ethnomethodological procedural perspective of ‘doing.’

References

  1. Amann, Klaus. 1994. Menschen, Mäuse und Fliegen. Eine wissenssoziologische Analyse der Transformation von Organismen in epistemische Objekte. Zeitschrift für Soziologie 23(1): 22–40.Google Scholar
  2. Böhme, Juliane. 2015a. ‘Doing’ Laborexperimente: Eine ethnomethodologische Betrachtung der Praxis experimenteller Wirtschaftsforschung im Labor. Berliner Journal für Soziologie 25(1): 33–59.Google Scholar
  3. Böhme, Juliane. 2015b. Kombination von Grounded Theory und Ethnomethodologie. In Handbuch Grounded Theory—Von der Methodologie zur Forschungspraxis, edited by Claudia Equit and Christoph Hohage. Weinheim: Beltz Verlag (in print).Google Scholar
  4. Callon, Michel. 1998. An Essay on Framing and Overflowing: Economic Externalities Revisited by Sociology. In The Laws of the Markets, edited by Michel Callon, 244–269. Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  5. Camerer, Colin. 2003. Behavioral Game Theory: Experiments in Strategic Interaction. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  6. Garfinkel, Harold. 1967. Studies in Ethnomethodology. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.Google Scholar
  7. Garfinkel, Harold, and Harvey Sacks. 1979. Über Formale Strukturen Praktischer Handlungen. In Ethnomethodologie. Beiträge zu einer Soziologie des Alltagshandels, edited by Elmar Weingarten, Fritz Sack, and Jim Schenkein, 130–176. Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp.Google Scholar
  8. Gieryn, Thomas F. 2002. Three Truth Spots. Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences 38(2): 113–132.Google Scholar
  9. Greiner, Ben. 2015. Subject pool recruitment procedures: Organizing experiments with ORSEE. Journal of the Economic Science Association, 1(1): 114–125.Google Scholar
  10. Guala, Francesco. 2005. The Methodology of Experimental Economics. New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  11. Guala, Francesco. 2007. How to Do Things with Experimental Economics. In Do Economists Make Markets? On the Performativity of Economics, edited by Donald MacKenzie, Fabian Muniesa, and Lucia Siu, 128–162. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  12. Kahneman, Daniel, and Amos Tversky. 1981. The Framing of Decisions and the Psychology of Choice. Science 211: 453–458.Google Scholar
  13. Knorr-Cetina, Karin. 1984. Die Fabrikation von Erkenntnis. Zur Anthropologie der Naturwissenschaft. Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp.Google Scholar
  14. Knorr-Cetina, Karin. 2002. Wissenskulturen. Ein Vergleich naturwissenschaftlicher Wissensformen. Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp.Google Scholar
  15. Knorr-Cetina, Karin, and Michael Mulkay. 1983. Science Observed. Perspectives on the Social Study of Science. London: Sage.Google Scholar
  16. Kübler, Dorothea. 2010. Experimental Practices in Economics: Performativity and the Creation of Phenomena. WZB Discussion Paper: SP II 2010-01.Google Scholar
  17. Latour, Bruno, and Steve Woolgar. 1979. Laboratory Life: The Social Construction of Scientific Facts. London: Sage.Google Scholar
  18. Muniesa, Fabian, and Michel Callon. 2007. Economic Experiments and the Construction of Markets. In Do Economists Make Markets?: On the Performativity of Economics, edited by Donald MacKenzie, Fabian Muniesa, and Lucia Siu, 163–189. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  19. Rawls, Anne W. 2006. Respecifying the Study of Social Order—Garfinkel’s Transition from the Theoretical Conceptualisation to Practices in Detail. In Seeing Sociologically: The Routine Grounds of Social Action, edited by Harold Garfinkel, 1–97. Boulder: Paradigm Publishers.Google Scholar
  20. Simon, Herbert A. 1957. Models of Man, Social and Rational: Mathematical Essays on Rational Human Behavior in a Social Setting. New York: John Wiley and Sons.Google Scholar
  21. Smith, Vernon L. 1976. Experimental Economics: Induced Value Theory. American Economic Review 66(2): 274–279.Google Scholar
  22. Wittgenstein, Ludwig. [1953] 1971. Philosophische Untersuchungen. Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Juliane Böhme
    • 1
  1. 1.Berlin Social Science CenterBerlinGermany

Personalised recommendations