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Social Preferences in the Lab: A Comparison of Students and a Representative Population

Author

Listed:
  • Alexander W. Cappelen
  • Knut Nygaard
  • Erik Ø. Sørensen
  • Bertil Tungodden

Abstract

We report from a lab experiment conducted with a sample of participants that is nationally representative for the adult population in Norway and two student samples (economics students and non-economics students). The participants make choices both in a dictator game (a non-strategic environment) and in a generalized trust game (a strategic environment). We find that the representative sample differs fundamentally from the student samples, both in the relative importance assigned to different moral motives (efficiency, equity, and reciprocity) and in the level of selfish behavior. It is also interesting to note that the gender effects observed in the student samples do not correspond to the gender effects observed in representative sample. Finally, whereas economics students behave less pro-socially than non-economics students, the two student groups are similar in the relative importance they assign to different moral motives.

Suggested Citation

  • Alexander W. Cappelen & Knut Nygaard & Erik Ø. Sørensen & Bertil Tungodden, 2015. "Social Preferences in the Lab: A Comparison of Students and a Representative Population," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 117(4), pages 1306-1326, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:scandj:v:117:y:2015:i:4:p:1306-1326
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1111/sjoe.12114
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Rudolf Kerschbamer & Daniel Muller, 2017. "Social preferences and political attitudes: An online experiment on a large heterogeneous sample," Working Papers 2017-16, Faculty of Economics and Statistics, University of Innsbruck.
    2. Alexia Gaudeul, 2013. "Social preferences under uncertainty," Jena Economic Research Papers 2013-024, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena.
    3. Mirco Tonin & Michael Vlassopoulos,, 2013. "Do Social Incentives Matter? Evidence from an Online Real Effort Experiment," Review of Environment, Energy and Economics - Re3, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei, January.
    4. A. Alekseev & Mikhail Freer, 2018. "Selection in the Lab: A Network Approach," Working Papers ECARES 2018-32, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    5. Ingvild Almås & Alexander W. Cappelen & Bertil Tungodden, 2016. "Cutthroat Capitalism versus Cuddly Socialism: Are Americans more Meritocratic and Efficiency-Seeking than Scandinavians?," CESifo Working Paper Series 6278, CESifo Group Munich.
    6. Hardardottir, Hjördis & Gerdtham, Ulf-G. & Wengström, Erik, 2019. "What Kind of Inequality Do You Prefer? Evaluating Measures of Income and Health Inequality Using Choice Experiments," Working Papers 2019:7, Lund University, Department of Economics, revised 31 May 2019.
    7. repec:jdm:journl:v:13:y:2018:i:4:p:345-355 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Brañas-Garza, Pablo & Capraro, Valerio & Rascón-Ramírez, Ericka, 2018. "Gender differences in altruism on Mechanical Turk: Expectations and actual behaviour," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 170(C), pages 19-23.
    9. Mirco Tonin & Michael Vlassopoulos, 2015. "Corporate Philanthropy and Productivity: Evidence from an Online Real Effort Experiment," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 61(8), pages 1795-1811, August.
    10. repec:eee:soceco:v:77:y:2018:i:c:p:72-77 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Müller Daniel & Sander Renes, 2019. "Fairness Views and Political Preferences - Evidence from a representative sample," Working Papers 2019-08, Faculty of Economics and Statistics, University of Innsbruck.
    12. Ahrens, Steffen & Snower, Dennis J., 2014. "Envy, guilt, and the Phillips curve," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 99(C), pages 69-84.
    13. Tiziana Medda & Vittorio Pelligra & Tommaso Reggiani, 2016. "Does Experience Affect Fairness and Reciprocity in Lab Experiments?," CERBE Working Papers wpC09, CERBE Center for Relationship Banking and Economics.
    14. V. Pelligra & T. Reggiani & T. Medda, 2016. "Does Experience Affect Fairness, Reciprocity and Cooperation in Lab Experiments?," Working Paper CRENoS 201610, Centre for North South Economic Research, University of Cagliari and Sassari, Sardinia.
    15. repec:eee:soceco:v:78:y:2019:i:c:p:160-169 is not listed on IDEAS
    16. Alain Cohn & Tobias Gesche & Michel André Maréchal, 2018. "Honesty in the Digital Age," CESifo Working Paper Series 6996, CESifo Group Munich.
    17. repec:eee:joepsy:v:65:y:2018:i:c:p:26-40 is not listed on IDEAS
    18. Boschini, Anne & Dreber, Anna & von Essen, Emma & Muren, Astri & Ranehill, Eva, 2018. "Gender and altruism in a random sample," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 77(C), pages 72-77.
    19. Kettner, Sara Elisa & Waichman, Israel, 2016. "Old age and prosocial behavior: Social preferences or experimental confounds?," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 53(C), pages 118-130.
    20. Daniel Müller & Sander Renes, 2017. "Fairness views and political preferences - Evidence from a large online experiment," Working Papers 2017-10, Faculty of Economics and Statistics, University of Innsbruck.
    21. L. Frigau & T. Medda & V. Pelligra, 2017. "From the Field to the Lab. An Experiment on the Representativeness of Standard Laboratory Subjects," Working Paper CRENoS 201704, Centre for North South Economic Research, University of Cagliari and Sassari, Sardinia.
    22. Kristina M. Bott & Alexander Cappelen & Erik Ø. Sørensen & Bertil Tungodden, 2017. "You've Got Mail: A Randomised Field Experiment on Tax Evasion," Working Papers 2017-051, Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Working Group.

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    JEL classification:

    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior

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