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Experimental Subjects are Not Different

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Author Info

  • Filippos Exadaktylos

    (GLoBE, University of Granada)

  • Antonio M. Espin

    (GLoBE, University of Granada)

  • Pablo Branas-Garza

    (GLoBE, University of Granada and Economic Science Institute, Chapman University)

Abstract

Experiments 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 Info

Paper provided by Chapman University, Economic Science Institute in its series Working Papers with number 12-11.

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Length: 26 pages
Date of creation: 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:chu:wpaper:12-11

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Keywords: experimental economics; external validity; subject pool; selfselection bias; field experiment.;

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References

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  1. Jeffrey Carpenter & Cristina Connolly & Caitlin Myers, 2008. "Altruistic behavior in a representative dictator experiment," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 11(3), pages 282-298, September.
  2. Forsythe Robert & Horowitz Joel L. & Savin N. E. & Sefton Martin, 1994. "Fairness in Simple Bargaining Experiments," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 6(3), pages 347-369, May.
  3. Ernst Fehr & John A. List, 2004. "THE HIDDEN COSTS AND RETURNS OF INCENTIVES — TRUST AND TRUSTWORTHINESS AMONG CEOs," Labor and Demography 0409012, EconWPA.
  4. 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.
  5. B. Douglas Bernheim & Antonio Rangel, 2005. "Behavioral Public Economics: Welfare and Policy Analysis with Non-Standard Decision-Makers," NBER Working Papers 11518, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Glenn W. Harrison & John A. List, 2004. "Field Experiments," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 42(4), pages 1009-1055, December.
  7. Burks, Stephen & Carpenter, Jeffrey & Goette, Lorenz, 2009. "Performance pay and worker cooperation: Evidence from an artefactual field experiment," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 70(3), pages 458-469, June.
  8. Cleave, Blair L. & Nikiforakis, Nikos & Slonim, Robert, 2011. "Is There Selection Bias in Laboratory Experiments? The Case of Social and Risk Preferences," IZA Discussion Papers 5488, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  9. Catherine Eckel & Philip Grossman, 2000. "Volunteers and Pseudo-Volunteers: The Effect of Recruitment Method in Dictator Experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 3(2), pages 107-120, October.
  10. 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.
  11. Ai, Chunrong & Norton, Edward C., 2003. "Interaction terms in logit and probit models," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 80(1), pages 123-129, July.
  12. Guth, Werner & Schmittberger, Rolf & Schwarze, Bernd, 1982. "An experimental analysis of ultimatum bargaining," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 367-388, December.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Staffiero, Gianandrea & Exadaktylos, Filippos & Espín, Antonio M., 2013. "Accepting zero in the ultimatum game does not reflect selfish preferences," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 121(2), pages 236-238.
  2. Brañas-Garza, Pablo & Espín, Antonio M. & Neuman, Shoshana, 2013. "Effects of Religiosity on Social Behaviour: Experimental Evidence from a Representative Sample of Spaniards," IZA Discussion Papers 7683, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Antonio M. Espín & Filippos Exadaktylos & Benedikt Herrmann & Pablo Brañas-Garza, 2013. "Short- and Long-run Goals in Ultimatum Bargaining," Working Papers 13-17, Chapman University, Economic Science Institute.
  4. S. Bortolotti & M. Casari & F. Pancotto, 2013. "Norms of Punishment in the General Population," Working Papers wp898, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna.
  5. Pablo Branas-Garza & Antonio M. Espin & Benedikt Herrmann, 2014. "Fair and unfair punishers coexist in the Ultimatum Game," SEET Working Papers 2014-02, BELIS, Istanbul Bilgi University.
  6. Gianandrea Staffiero & Filippos Exadaktylos & Antonio M. Espín, 2013. "Accepting Zero in the Ultimatum Game: Selfish Nash Response?," ThE Papers 13/01, Department of Economic Theory and Economic History of the University of Granada..
  7. Antoni Bosch-Domènech & Pablo Brañas-Garza & Antonio M. Espín, 2013. "Can exposure to prenatal sex hormones (2D:4D) predict cognitive reflection?," Working Papers 698, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
  8. Werner Güth & Martin G. Kocher, 2013. "More than thirty years of ultimatum bargaining experiments: Motives, variations, and a survey of the recent literature," Jena Economic Research Papers 2013-035, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena, Max-Planck-Institute of Economics.
  9. Katharina M. Eckartz, 2014. "Task enjoyment and opportunity costs in the lab - the effect of financial incentives on performance in real effort tasks," Jena Economic Research Papers 2014-005, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena, Max-Planck-Institute of Economics.
  10. Yamada, Katsunori & Sato, Masayuki, 2013. "Another avenue for anatomy of income comparisons: Evidence from hypothetical choice experiments," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 89(C), pages 35-57.
  11. Antoni Bosch-Domènech & Pablo Brañas-Garza & Antonio M. Espín, 2013. "Fetal testosterone (2D:4D) as predictor of cognitive reflection," Working Papers 13-18, Chapman University, Economic Science Institute.

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