The purpose of this paper is twofold. First, to discuss the concept of a \"field experiment\" and its strengths and weaknesses for studying economic behavior. Second, to address a main application (i.e., example) of a field experiment in the context of the DFID-funded project on pro-poor policy options for the prevention and control of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI). The sample field experiment discussed in this paper only applies to Indonesia even though experiments will also be conducted in Ghana or Nigeria. Since the discussions pertaining to the Africa experiments are at a very preliminary stage, they are not addressed further in this note; however, these experiments are likely to address issues of compensation and/or insurance.
The paper proceeds as follows. Section 2 pins down some terminology. Section 3 motivates the use of experiments. Section 4 discusses the concept of an experiment from a technical standpoint and summarizes some examples of previous experiments. Section 5 discusses the main application for the case of HPAI in Indonesia. Finally, section 6 concludes.
Africa/Indonesia Team Working Paper No. 12, 24 pp.