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Free Riding in the Lab and in the Field

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  • Englmaier, Florian
  • Gebhardt, Georg

Abstract

We run a public good experiment in the field and in the lab with (partly) the same subjects. The field experiment is a true natural field experiment as subjects do not know that they are exposed to an experimental variation. We can show that subjects' behavior in the classic lab public good experiment correlates with their behavior in the structurally comparable public good treatment in the field but not with behavior in any of two control treatments we ran in the field. This effect is also economically significant. We conclude that a) the classic lab public good experiment captures important aspects of structurally equivalent real life situations and b) that behavior in lab and field at least in our setting is driven by the same underlying forces.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University of Berlin, University of Bonn, University of Mannheim, University of Munich in its series Discussion Paper Series of SFB/TR 15 Governance and the Efficiency of Economic Systems with number 344.

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Date of creation: Sep 2010
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Handle: RePEc:trf:wpaper:344

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Keywords: Field and Lab Experiments; External Validity; Public Goods; Team Production;

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References

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  13. Greiner, Ben, 2004. "An Online Recruitment System for Economic Experiments," MPRA Paper 13513, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  14. Fehr, Ernst & Leibbrandt, Andreas, 2011. "A field study on cooperativeness and impatience in the Tragedy of the Commons," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(9), pages 1144-1155.
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Cited by:
  1. Axel Franzen & Sonja Pointner, 2013. "The external validity of giving in the dictator game," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 16(2), pages 155-169, June.

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