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October 9th, 2015: Extending the Lab’s Reach

Andrew Bell

Extending the Lab’s Reach: Lab Experiments in Rural Communities

October 9, 11:00 am – 12:00 pm, Dana Building 1040

Social data collection is hard. Social data collection in remote areas can be particularly hard, as costs, logistical issues, lack of laboratory controls, and lack of infrastructure restrict the kinds of data that can be collected. Pencils, paper, tokens, and cups are among the tools that have reliably provided for researchers for decades. However, these methods can be time intensive, prohibiting the study of complicated resource interactions or eliciting slow equilibria from groups whose attention and availability may be limited. Recent shifts in the cost of handheld computers have increased the appeal of computer-assisted interviewing and experiments. I present results and experiences from application of tablet and Android-based surveys and games in rural settings, in the hopes of highlighting current research possibilities and potential pitfalls.

Andrew Bell (PhD Michigan SNRE, 2010) is Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies at New York University. Prior to joining NYU he was Research Fellow at the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) in Washington, DC, and Earth Institute Fellow at Columbia University. His work employs modeling tools and economic/behavioral experiments to examine resource behavior in rural contexts; current project areas include Malawi, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Cambodia, and Vietnam.