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Who should be called to the lab? A comprehensive comparison of students and non-students in classic experimental games

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Author Info

  • Michèle Belot
  • Raymond Duch

    ()
    (Centre for Experimental Social Sciences, Nuffield College, University of Oxford)

  • Luis Miller

Abstract

This study compares the behavior of students and non-students in a number of classic experimental games. We find that students are more likely to behave as homo-economicus agents than non-students in games involving other-regarding preferences (Dictator Game, Trust Game and Public Good Game). These differences persist even when controlling for demographics, cognitive ability and risk preferences. In games that do not engage other-regarding preferences (Beauty-contest and Second-price Auction) there is limited evidence of differences in behaviour between subject pools. In none of the five games is there evidence of significant differences in comprehension between students and non-students. Within subject analyses indicate that students are highly consistent in their other-regarding preferences while non-student subjects are inconsistent across other-regarding games. Our findings suggest that experiments using students will provide a lower bound estimate of other-regardedness in the general population while exaggerating the stability of other-regarding preferences.

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File URL: http://cess-wb.nuff.ox.ac.uk/documents/DP2010/CESS_DP2010_001.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Oxford, Nuffield College in its series Discussion Papers with number 2010001.

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Length: 52 pages
Date of creation: Oct 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cex:dpaper:2010001

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Web page: http://cess-wb.nuff.ox.ac.uk/
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Related research

Keywords: lab experiments; convenience samples; other-regarding preferences; consistency;

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References

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  1. Blanco, Mariana & Engelmann, Dirk & Normann, Hans-Theo, 2010. "A within-subject analysis of other-regarding preferences," DICE Discussion Papers 06, Heinrich‐Heine‐Universität Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf Institute for Competition Economics (DICE).
  2. Chou, Eileen & McConnell, Margaret & Nagel, Rosemarie & Plott, Charles R., 2007. "The control of game form recognition in experiments: Understanding dominant strategy failures in a simple two person “Guessing” game," Working Papers 1274, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
  3. Marco Casari & John C. Ham & John H. Kagel, 2007. "Selection Bias, Demographic Effects, and Ability Effects in Common Value Auction Experiments," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(4), pages 1278-1304, September.
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  7. Rosemarie Nagel & Antoni Bosch-Domènech & Albert Satorra & José García Montalvo, 1999. "One, two, (three), infinity: Newspaper and lab beauty-contest experiments," Economics Working Papers 438, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
  8. Steven D. Levitt & John A. List, 2007. "Viewpoint: On the generalizability of lab behaviour to the field," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 40(2), pages 347-370, May.
  9. Danielson, Anders J. & Holm, Hakan J., 2007. "Do you trust your brethren?: Eliciting trust attitudes and trust behavior in a Tanzanian congregation," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 62(2), pages 255-271, February.
  10. Casari, Marco & Cason, Timothy N., 2009. "The strategy method lowers measured trustworthy behavior," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 103(3), pages 157-159, June.
  11. Chetan Dave & Catherine Eckel & Cathleen Johnson & Christian Rojas, 2010. "Eliciting risk preferences: When is simple better?," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 41(3), pages 219-243, December.
  12. Camerer, Colin F. & Ho, Teck H. & Chong, Juin-Kuan., 2000. "Sophisticated EWA Learning and Strategic Teaching in Repeated Games," Working Papers 1087, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
  13. Andreas Ortmann & John Fitzgerald & Carl Boeing, 2000. "Trust, Reciprocity, and Social History: A Re-examination," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 3(1), pages 81-100, June.
  14. Gachter, Simon & Herrmann, Benedikt & Thoni, Christian, 2004. "Trust, voluntary cooperation, and socio-economic background: survey and experimental evidence," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 55(4), pages 505-531, December.
  15. 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.
  16. Jeffrey Carpenter & Cristina Connolly & Caitlin Myers, 2008. "Altruistic behavior in a representative dictator experiment," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 11(3), pages 282-298, September.
  17. Burks, Stephen V. & Carpenter, Jeffrey P. & Götte, Lorenz & Rustichini, Aldo, 2008. "Cognitive Skills Explain Economic Preferences, Strategic Behavior, and Job Attachment," IZA Discussion Papers 3609, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Andreas Drichoutis & Kyriaki Remoundou & Phoebe Koundouri, . "Warm glow in charitable auctions: Are the WEIRDos driving the results?," DEOS Working Papers 1025, Athens University of Economics and Business.
  2. Barmettler, Franziska & Fehr, Ernst & Zehnder, Christian, 2011. "Big Experimenter Is Watching You! Anonymity and Prosocial Behavior in the Laboratory," IZA Discussion Papers 5925, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. D Nosenzo & Jon Anderson & Stephen V Burks & Jeffrey Carpenter & Lorenz Gotte & Karsten Maurer & Ruth Potter & Kim Rocha & Aldo Rustichini, 2012. "Self-Selection and Variations in the Laboratory Measurment of Other-Regarding Preferences Across Subject Pools: Evidence from One College Student and Two Adult Samples," Discussion Papers 2012-14, The Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics, School of Economics, University of Nottingham.
  4. Abeler, Johannes & Nosenzo, Daniele, 2013. "Self-Selection into Economics Experiments Is Driven by Monetary Rewards," IZA Discussion Papers 7374, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  5. Mirco Tonin & Michael Vlassopoulos, 2013. "Social Incentives Matter: Evidence from an Online Real Effort Experiment," Working Papers 2013.05, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
  6. Slonim, Robert & Wang, Carmen & Garbarino, Ellen & Merrett, Danielle, 2012. "Opting-In: Participation Biases in the Lab," IZA Discussion Papers 6865, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  7. S. Bortolotti & M. Casari & F. Pancotto, 2013. "Norms of Punishment in the General Population," Working Papers wp898, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna.

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