Experimental Subjects are Not Different
AbstractExperiments using economic games are becoming a major source for the study of human social behavior. These experiments are usually conducted with university students who voluntarily choose to participate. Across the natural and social sciences, there is some concern about how this “particular” subject pool may systematically produce biased results. Focusing on social preferences, this study employs data from a survey experiment conducted with a representative sample of a city’s population (N=765). We report behavioral data from five experimental decisions in three canonical games: dictator, ultimatum and trust games. The dataset includes students and non-students as well as volunteers and nonvolunteers. We separately examine the effects of being a student and being a volunteer on behavior, which allows a ceteris paribus comparison between self-selected students (students*volunteers) and the representative population. Our results suggest that self-selected students are an appropriate subject pool for the study of social behavior.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Chapman University, Economic Science Institute in its series Working Papers with number 12-11.
Length: 26 pages
Date of creation: 2012
Date of revision:
experimental economics; external validity; subject pool; selfselection bias; field experiment.;
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- C90 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - General
- D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Economics; Underlying Principles
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2012-05-08 (All new papers)
- NEP-CBE-2012-05-08 (Cognitive & Behavioural Economics)
- NEP-EVO-2012-05-08 (Evolutionary Economics)
- NEP-EXP-2012-05-08 (Experimental Economics)
- NEP-HPE-2012-05-08 (History & Philosophy of Economics)
- NEP-SOC-2012-05-08 (Social Norms & Social Capital)
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