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Exploring whether behavior in context-free experiments is predictive of behavior in the field: Evidence from lab and field experiments in rural Sierra Leone

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  • Voors, Maarten
  • Turley, Ty
  • Kontoleon, Andreas
  • Bulte, Erwin
  • List, John A.

Abstract

We use a sample of subsistence farmers in Sierra Leone as respondents to compare behavior in a context-free experiment (a standard public goods game) and behavior in the field (a real development intervention). There is no meaningful correlation in behavior across contexts. This casts doubt on the prospect of using lab experiments as “predictors” of behavior in real life.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Economics Letters.

Volume (Year): 114 (2012)
Issue (Month): 3 ()
Pages: 308-311

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Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolet:v:114:y:2012:i:3:p:308-311

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/ecolet

Related research

Keywords: Lab games; Field experiments; Community driven development; External validity; Pro-social preferences; Africa;

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References

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  1. Jeffrey Carpenter & Erika Seki, 2005. "Do Social PreferencesIncrease Productivity? Field experimental evidence from fishermen in Toyoma Bay," Middlebury College Working Paper Series 0515, Middlebury College, Department of Economics.
  2. John List, 2006. "The behavioralist meets the market: Measuring social preferences and reputation effects in actual transactions," Natural Field Experiments 00300, The Field Experiments Website.
  3. Dean S. Karlan, 2005. "Using Experimental Economics to Measure Social Capital And Predict Financial Decisions," Working Papers 909, Economic Growth Center, Yale University.
  4. Matthias Benz & Stephan Meier, 2006. "Do people behave in experiments as in the field?: evidence from donations," Working Papers 06-8, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
  5. Laury, Susan K. & Taylor, Laura O., 2008. "Altruism spillovers: Are behaviors in context-free experiments predictive of altruism toward a naturally occurring public good," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 65(1), pages 9-29, January.
  6. Bouma, Jetske & Bulte, Erwin & van Soest, Daan, 2008. "Trust and cooperation: Social capital and community resource management," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 56(2), pages 155-166, September.
  7. Steven D. Levitt & John A. List, 2007. "What Do Laboratory Experiments Measuring Social Preferences Reveal About the Real World?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 21(2), pages 153-174, Spring.
  8. Maarten Voors & Erwin Bulte & Andreas Kontoleon & John A. List & Ty Turley, 2011. "Using Artefactual Field Experiments to Learn about the Incentives for Sustainable Forest Use in Developing Economies," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(3), pages 329-33, May.
  9. repec:feb:artefa:0101 is not listed on IDEAS
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Cited by:
  1. Vollan, Björn & Prediger, Sebastian & Frölich, Markus, 2013. "Co-managing common-pool resources: Do formal rules have to be adapted to traditional ecological norms?," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(C), pages 51-62.
  2. Frank M. Fossen & Daniela Glocker, 2014. "Stated and Revealed Heterogeneous Risk Preferences in Educational Choice," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 630, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
  3. Martin Fochmann & Arne Kleinstück, 2012. "Steueraversion - Sind wir wirklich bereit auf Einkommen zu verzichten, nur um Steuern zu sparen?," FEMM Working Papers 120024, Otto-von-Guericke University Magdeburg, Faculty of Economics and Management.
  4. Lohse, Johannes & Goeschl, Timo & Diederich , Johannes, 2014. "Giving is a question of time: Response times and contributions to a real world public good," Working Papers 0566, University of Heidelberg, Department of Economics.

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