Promoting Experiments in Social Sciences

Until about 40 years ago, it was perceived that conducting experiments was not possible in social sciences. The only kind of experiments that was considered possible was "social experiments" that actually took place in society, which includes, for example, the socialist planned economies adopted in Russia and Eastern Europe. Such experiments had a tremendous (negative) impact on society. However, in social sciences, especially in economics, research methods using experiments have actually been developed since the 1940s. Some experiments have also been conducted in social psychology.

Recently, when we conduct experiments, we construct a virtual economic environment in a laboratory, and participants are asked to deal with such issues as hypothetical transactions of goods, decision making about investments, donations, and risks, and how to work together when laboring in a team. In these days, there is also a strong focus on macroeconomic experiments, for example, testing the process of forecasting stock prices and interest rates.

As a culmination of experimental research in social sciences, the Nobel Prize in Economics was given in 2002 and 2009 for experimental economics and the related field of behavioral economics. Again in 2011 the Nobel Prize in Economics was won by experimental economics and matching theory. It has helped solve the problem of how to match the type of transplant recipient and donor in kidney transplants.

In recent years, experiments are also conducted outside the laboratories. This technique is called field trial or field experimentation. Field experiments in particular have been instrumental in providing scientific evidence to solve social problems. For example, what factors can be used to save electricity, what information should be provided to people to get health checkups and cancer screening, and what measures are needed to raise the level of education in developing countries. The field experimental field was also awarded the Nobel Prize in Economics in 2019.

Our experimental economics laboratory has one of the best facilities in Japan and one of the highest operating rates in Japan. This laboratory is also open to a wide range of researchers not only from the University but also from outside the University as a center for joint use of social science experiments. We would like to provide an environment where experiments can be conducted more easily for further development of experimental research in social sciences in Japan. For details on how to use the facilities, please contact riss@ml.kandai.jp

Promoting Experiments in Social Sciences

Contacts

For further information about conducting experiments, please email us at
riss@ml.kandai.jp

Software and Equipment

Area: 120 square meters
Number of seats (number of PCs): 28 seats for participants (28), 1 seat for the researcher (1)
Software: z-Tree (ver.4.1.11), Netop Vision PRO, microsoft office, oTree(ver.2.5.8)
Other equipment: Projector, screen, document device, printer, microphone, speaker, webcam