Cambridge Surveys of Economic Literature: Social Experimentation and Economic Policy

Cambridge Surveys of Economic Literature: Social Experimentation and Economic Policy

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Social experimentation is a tool that enables economists and policy makers to test proposed economic policies in the real world. Instead of testing policies by analytical methods or by laboratory simulation, the policies are tested on people who would be affected were these policies implemented. The authors describe how such social experiments are set up and carried out, and consider the advantages and disadvantages of social experimentation relative to other means of evaluating economic and social policies. The main part of the book is a review and a critical evaluation of the principal social experiments in economics that have been carried out in the United States, where this method has been used most extensively. The authors examine in detail the first large-scale experiment in the United States (the New Jersey Income Maintenance Experiment) and subsequent experiments with the labour force, electricity rates, and cash housing allowances. A consideration of the social utility of social experimentation follows, and the book closes with a set of recommendations on the conditions under which social experimentation might best be used in evaluating economic and social policies.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 264 pages
  • 140 x 216 x 15mm | 340g
  • Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • English
  • Worked examples or Exercises
  • 0521285070
  • 9780521285070

Table of contents

1. Introduction; 2. Nature of social experimentation; 3. Challenges posed by social experiments; 4. The start: the New Jersey Experiment; 5. The other negative income tax experiments; 6. Labour force experiments; 7. The Health Insurance Study; 8. Electricity peak-load pricing experiments; 9. The cash housing allowance experiments; 10. What have we learned?
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