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Lab and framed lab versus natural experiments: Evidence from a risky choice experiment

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  • Botti, Fabrizio
  • Conte, Anna
  • Di Cagno, Daniela
  • D'Ippoliti, Carlo

Abstract

Some recent papers have studied data from TV game shows to examine the behaviour of individuals towards risk. It is generally agreed that data from these shows are useful in detecting individual risk aversion in the field, with both "real life" subjects and incentives. Field experiments also include some interesting reality features that could affect individuals' behaviour and possibly lead to different findings. This paper aims at investigating lab versus field evidence in risk taking attitudes, especially controlling for framing effects. To assess whether the behaviour of subjects in the field is consistent with that of experimental subjects, we designed an experiment to mimic (with experimental rewards and subjects) the rules of a well-known Italian TV game show, Affari Tuoi, in two different settings: a traditional lab setting, where the game was played individually (109 subjects) (Treatment 1); and a framed lab, in which the experiment was replicated in the Italian public television (RAI) studio where the show was actually recorded, with a smaller sample of undergraduate students (33) and in the presence of an audience (Treatment 2). Our comparison between the two different settings aims at establishing whether the presence of an audience, or of a situation that reproduces the stress that contestants must experience in the TV studio, can affect experimental subjects' choices. We did not find any significant evidence of framing effects: students behave in a similar way in the two lab settings, responding essentially to incentives. Comparing the risk attitudes shown by experimental subjects in the two lab treatments with those exhibited by the contestants in the field, we found that contestants in the TV show are generally more risk averse than students in the lab.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Research in Economics.

Volume (Year): 63 (2009)
Issue (Month): 4 (December)
Pages: 282-295

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Handle: RePEc:eee:reecon:v:63:y:2009:i:4:p:282-295

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/622941

Related research

Keywords: Risky choices Natural experiments Beliefs Discrete choice models;

References

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  1. Glenn W. Harrison & John A. List, 2004. "Field Experiments," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 42(4), pages 1009-1055, December.
  2. Peter Moffatt & Simon Peters, 2001. "Testing for the Presence of a Tremble in Economic Experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 4(3), pages 221-228, December.
  3. Matthew Rabin, 2001. "Diminishing Marginal Utility of Wealth Cannot Explain Risk Aversion," Game Theory and Information 0012002, EconWPA.
  4. Thierry Post & Martijn J. van den Assem & Guido Baltussen & Richard H. Thaler, 2008. "Deal or No Deal? Decision Making under Risk in a Large-Payoff Game Show," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(1), pages 38-71, March.
  5. Hey, John D & Orme, Chris, 1994. "Investigating Generalizations of Expected Utility Theory Using Experimental Data," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(6), pages 1291-1326, November.
  6. Botti Fabrizio & Conte Anna & Di Cagno Daniela Teresa & D'Ippoliti Carlo, 2008. "Risk Attitude in Real Decision Problems," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 8(1), pages 1-32, March.
  7. Jungmin Lee & Cary Deck & Javier Reyes & Chris Rosen, 2008. "Measuring Risk Attitudes Controlling for Personality Traits," Working Papers 0801, Florida International University, Department of Economics.
  8. Charles A. Holt & Susan K. Laury, 2002. "Risk Aversion and Incentive Effects," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(5), pages 1644-1655, December.
  9. Metrick, Andrew, 1995. "A Natural Experiment in "Jeopardy!"," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(1), pages 240-53, March.
  10. Friend, Irwin & Blume, Marshall E, 1975. "The Demand for Risky Assets," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 65(5), pages 900-922, December.
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