Unfulfilled Promise: Laboratory experiments in public management research

Derrick Anderson, Barry C. Edwards

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    32 Scopus citations


    Abstract: We make the case for increased laboratory experimentation in public management research. Laboratory experiments can generate useful knowledge, particularly in testing causal relationships among constructs of interest. The challenge in this regard is one of identifying the appropriate role for experiments in a greater knowledge production enterprise. Although laboratory experiments are underutilized, they have proffered important knowledge contributions to the field, especially in areas of decision-making and, increasingly, motivation. Because practical problems may pose a greater obstacle to laboratory experimentation in public management than epistemological issues, we address external validity and the cost of conducting laboratory experiments before concluding with suggestions for future research.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)1518-1542
    Number of pages25
    JournalPublic Management Review
    Issue number10
    StatePublished - Nov 26 2015


    • Laboratory experiments
    • decision-making
    • experimental research

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Public Administration


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