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Is there selection bias in laboratory experiments? The case of social and risk preferences

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  • Blair Cleave
  • Nikos Nikiforakis

    ()

  • Robert Slonim

Abstract

Laboratory experiments are frequently used to examine the nature of individuals’ social and risk preferences and inform economic theory. However, it is unknown whether the preferences of volunteer participants are representative of the population from which the participants are drawn, or whether they differ due to selection bias. To answer this question, we measured the preferences of 1,173 students in a classroom experiment using a trust game and a lottery choice task. Separately, we invited all students to participate in a laboratory experiment using common recruitment procedures. To evaluate whether there is selection bias, we compare the social and risk preferences of students who eventually participated in a laboratory experiment to those who did not, and find that they do not differ significantly. However, we also find that people who sent less in a trust game were more likely to participate in a laboratory experiment, and discuss possible explanations for this behavior. Copyright Economic Science Association 2013

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Springer in its journal Experimental Economics.

Volume (Year): 16 (2013)
Issue (Month): 3 (September)
Pages: 372-382

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Handle: RePEc:kap:expeco:v:16:y:2013:i:3:p:372-382

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Web page: http://www.springerlink.com/link.asp?id=102888

Related research

Keywords: Selection bias; Laboratory experiments; External validity; Social preferences; Risk preferences; C90; D03;

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Cited by:
  1. Filippos Exadaktylos & Antonio M. Espin & Pablo Branas-Garza, 2012. "Experimental Subjects are Not Different," Working Papers 12-11, Chapman University, Economic Science Institute.
  2. James Bland & Nikos Nikiforakis, 2013. "Tacit Coordination in Games with Third-Party Externalities," Working Paper Series of the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods 2013_19, Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods.
  3. Nakamoto, Yasuhiro & Sato, Masayuki, 2011. "Loss aversion, social comparison and physical abilities at younge age," MPRA Paper 31221, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  4. Jan Stoop, 2014. "From the lab to the field: envelopes, dictators and manners," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 17(2), pages 304-313, June.
  5. Charness, Gary & Gneezy, Uri & Kuhn, Michael A., 2013. "Experimental methods: Extra-laboratory experiments-extending the reach of experimental economics," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 91(C), pages 93-100.
  6. Gill, Andrej & Heinz, Matthias & Schumacher, Heiner, 2014. "Trust, trustworthiness and selection into the financial industry," CFS Working Paper Series 458, Center for Financial Studies (CFS).
  7. Johannes Abeler & Daniele Nosenzo, 2013. "Self-selection into Economics Experiments is Driven by Monetary Rewards," Discussion Papers 2013-03, The Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics, School of Economics, University of Nottingham.
  8. Mirco Tonin & Michael Vlassopoulos, 2014. "Corporate Philanthropy and Productivity: Evidence from an Online Real Effort Experiment," CESifo Working Paper Series 4778, CESifo Group Munich.

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