Experiments in finance: A survey of historical trends

August, 2022


Experiments complement other methods in identifying causal relationships and measuring behavioral deviations from theoretical predictions. While the experimental method has long been central in many scientific disciplines, it was almost nonexistent in finance until the 1980s. To survey the development of experiments in finance, we compiled a comprehensive account of experimental studies published in the Journal of Finance, Journal of Financial Economics, Review of Financial Studies, Review of Finance, Journal of Quantitative and Financial Analysis, and Journal of Banking and Finance, and experimental finance studies published in the top 5 journals in economics. With this novel dataset, we identified historical trends in experimental finance. Since the first experiments were published in finance journals in the 1980s, especially in the last 20 years, the share of experimental publications in these journals has markedly increased. In this article, we report trends toward descriptive, individual decision, and field experiments.

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