Unfulfilled Promise: Laboratory experiments in public management research

Derrick Anderson, Barry C. Edwards

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 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


  • decision-making
  • experimental research
  • Laboratory experiments

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Management Information Systems
  • Management of Technology and Innovation


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