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date: 23 October 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter explores the use of field experiments as a tool to study the economics of social networks, with an emphasis on applications in development economics. Field experiments can be powerful vehicles to measure causal treatment effects. However, when treatments “spill over” onto others in the social network, many new considerations arise. The chapter begins with a discussion of methodological challenges involved in conducting social network experiments. The chapter then explores how field experiments have begun to shed light on five key issues in the economics of networks, including social learning and diffusion, other-regarding preferences, peer monitoring and enforcement, risk sharing, and network formation.

Keywords: design of experiments, development economics, social learning, reputation, social preferences, risk sharing, network formation

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