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date: 08 March 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Deceiving someone in our everyday lives is a moral failing, one that we are adept at detecting and quick to judge in the words and actions of others. In our professional lives as economic scientists we are also quick to judge experimental procedures as deceptive, but we have problems articulating what that means. Rather than classifying experimental procedural details as deception or not based on what experimenters and participants may or may not know about the experiment and each other, I propose a general rule for adjudging the actions of experimenters as deceptive: Did the experimenters mislead the participants by false appearance or statement? If the answer is yes, then the experimenters have deceived the participants.

Keywords: deception, experimental design, experimental economics, experimental methods, scientific control

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