Ascertaining Behavioral Responses by In-Depth Interviewing and Direct Observation

21 Pages Posted: 16 May 2013

Date Written: May 15, 2013


Laboratory experiments provide evidence that the assumptions underlying the economic analysis of human behavior often differ from the mathematical logic of traditional economics and finance. These experiments have established a solid basis for a behavioral approach. Initially, lab experiments were seen solely as a means of testing economic theory, but increasingly, the experiments have been used to orient public policy and private decision making. This paper considers studies based on open-ended, in-depth interviews dealing with real world phenomena. These studies, at least one of which is quite sophisticated in economic terms, have led to behavioral findings some of which extend or differ from the findings of laboratory-based experimental economics or field experiments. While they represent an important supplement to understanding human behavior, they have been largely ignored by experimental economics.

Keywords: open-ended interviews, experimental economics, laboratory experiments

JEL Classification: C9, Y9, Z0

Suggested Citation

Schwartz, Hugh H., Ascertaining Behavioral Responses by In-Depth Interviewing and Direct Observation (May 15, 2013). Available at SSRN: or

Hugh H. Schwartz (Contact Author)

Independent ( email )

APT 1004
ALEXANDRIA, VA 22303-2519
United States

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