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Self Selection Does Not Increase Other-Regarding Preferences among Adult Laboratory Subjects, but Student Subjects May Be More Self-Regarding than Adults

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Author Info

  • Anderson, Jon E.

    ()
    (University of Minnesota, Morris)

  • Burks, Stephen V.

    ()
    (University of Minnesota, Morris)

  • Carpenter, Jeffrey P.

    ()
    (Middlebury College)

  • Götte, Lorenz

    ()
    (University of Lausanne)

  • Maurer, Karsten

    (Iowa State University)

  • Nosenzo, Daniele

    ()
    (University of Nottingham)

  • Potter, Ruth

    (University of Minnesota, Morris)

  • Rocha, Kim

    (University of Minnesota, Morris)

  • Rustichini, Aldo

    ()
    (University of Minnesota)

Abstract

We use a sequential prisoner's dilemma game to measure the other-regarding behavior in samples from three related populations in the upper Midwest of the United States: 100 college students, 94 non-student adults from the community surrounding the college and 1,069 adult trainee truckers in a residential training program. Both of the first two groups were recruited according to procedures commonly used in experimental economics (i.e., via e-mail and bulletin-board advertisements) and therefore subjects self-selected into the experiment. Because the structure of their training program reduced the opportunity cost of participating dramatically, 91% of the solicited trainees participated in the third group, so there was little scope for self-selection in this sample. We find no differences in the elicited other-regarding preferences between the self-selected adults and the adult trainees, suggesting that selection into this type of experiment is unlikely to bias inferences with respect to non-student adult subjects. We also test (and reject) the more specific hypothesis that approval-seeking subjects are the ones most likely to select into experiments. At the same time, we find a large difference between the self-selected students and the self-selected adults from the surrounding community: the students appear considerably less pro-social. Regression results controlling for demographic factors confirm these basic findings.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 5389.

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Length: 29 pages
Date of creation: Dec 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp5389

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Related research

Keywords: social preferences; truckload; laboratory experiment; selection bias; other-regarding behavior; field experiment; methodology; trucker;

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  1. 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.
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Cited by:
  1. Kyriaki Remoundou & Andreas Drichoutis & Phoebe Koundouri, . "Warm glow in charitable auctions: Are the WEIRDos driving the results?," DEOS Working Papers 1026, Athens University of Economics and Business.
  2. Blair Cleave & Nikos Nikiforakis & Robert Slonim, 2013. "Is there selection bias in laboratory experiments? The case of social and risk preferences," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 16(3), pages 372-382, September.
  3. Stoop, Jan, 2012. "From the lab to the field: envelopes, dictators and manners," MPRA Paper 37048, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  4. Koch, Christian, 2013. "The Virtue Ethics Hypothesis: Is there a nexus between virtues and well-being?," Annual Conference 2013 (Duesseldorf): Competition Policy and Regulation in a Global Economic Order 80054, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
  5. 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).

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