In the opinion of the economists here, what are some of the more important theories in economics that remain untested? By untested I mean theories that, though perhaps evaluated using empirical data, have not been tested in a laboratory setting.

This interests me because of experimentalists track record with fundamentally altering how the field views certain theories. The most obvious example of tested theories are expected utility theory and the convergence of double auction markets with no restrictions.

What theories do you think the field should eventually test and why?


monetary policy experiments:


macroeconomic experiments:


  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Are you defining "test" as laboratory experiment? Then, pretty much everything macro is untested. How do you test RBC, or Taylor Rule, or new trade theory, or endogenous growth theory in a lab? $\endgroup$
    – luchonacho
    Jul 23, 2017 at 7:18
  • $\begingroup$ Quite easily, depending upon who you test it. For example, there are experiments showing that people naturally adhere to the Taylor Rule whenever stabilizing closed, dynamic systems both with and without macroeconomic context. And yes - by test I mean test using laboratory experiment. As an example - I would love to see a test of the fiscal price theory in a laboratory setting. $\endgroup$
    – 123
    Jul 23, 2017 at 19:44
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ But how is that a proof that Central Bank policy-makers, who are not just people but a very high-qualified group of individuals with different views on the economy, act as if the Taylor Rule? Even if the experiment is internally valid, its external validity is very very debatable. Which is actually a problem of every single experiment, and particularly worrisome in Macro, imo. If I were you I would reduce the question to micro only. $\endgroup$
    – luchonacho
    Jul 24, 2017 at 7:32
  • $\begingroup$ Also, at the moment the question is to be closed as opinion-based. Since the title and your in-text questions are related but different questions, I would stick to the one in the title, which is less prone to opinions (but still). $\endgroup$
    – luchonacho
    Jul 24, 2017 at 7:34
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @luchonacho - I did not claim a field should not defend itself. I claimed that I am not, in the comment section of an online forum, obligated to defend all of a field myself. Further, experimental economics in general and macroeconomic experiments are two different beasts. My point is that experimental economics no more needs to defend itself than does any other field in economics. Perhaps less so. $\endgroup$
    – 123
    Jul 28, 2017 at 2:38