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A comprehensive comparison of students and non-students in classic experimental games

Listed author(s):
  • Belot, Michele
  • Duch, Raymond
  • Miller, Luis

This study exploits the opening of the experimental lab in Oxford to compare the behavior of students and non-students in a number of classic experimental games, some of which involve other-regarding preferences (Trust Game, Dictator Game, and Public Goods Game) and others which have game forms that are strategically challenging (Beauty-contest and Second-price Auction). We find that students are more likely to behave as selfish and rational agents than non-students. Our findings suggest that students are different than non-students with respect to their social preferences and their ability to reason strategically. Experiments using students are likely to overestimate the extent of selfish and rational behavior in the general population.

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File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0167268115000426
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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization.

Volume (Year): 113 (2015)
Issue (Month): C ()
Pages: 26-33

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Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:113:y:2015:i:c:p:26-33
DOI: 10.1016/j.jebo.2015.02.007
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/jebo

References listed on IDEAS
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  1. Hoffman Elizabeth & McCabe Kevin & Shachat Keith & Smith Vernon, 1994. "Preferences, Property Rights, and Anonymity in Bargaining Games," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 7(3), pages 346-380, November.
  2. Sutter, Matthias & Kocher, Martin G., 2007. "Trust and trustworthiness across different age groups," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 59(2), pages 364-382, May.
  3. Antoni Bosch-Domènech & José G. Montalvo & Rosemarie Nagel & Albert Satorra, 2002. "One, Two, (Three), Infinity, ...: Newspaper and Lab Beauty-Contest Experiments," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(5), pages 1687-1701, December.
  4. R. Mark Isaac & James M. Walker, 1988. "Group Size Effects in Public Goods Provision: The Voluntary Contributions Mechanism," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 103(1), pages 179-199.
  5. Jon Anderson & Stephen Burks & Jeffrey Carpenter & Lorenz Götte & Karsten Maurer & Daniele Nosenzo & Ruth Potter & Kim Rocha & Aldo Rustichini, 2013. "Self-selection and variations in the laboratory measurement of other-regarding preferences across subject pools: evidence from one college student and two adult samples," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 16(2), pages 170-189, June.
  6. Marco Casari & John C. Ham & John H. Kagel, 2007. "Selection Bias, Demographic Effects, and Ability Effects in Common Value Auction Experiments," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(4), pages 1278-1304, September.
  7. Jeffrey Carpenter & Cristina Connolly & Caitlin Myers, 2008. "Altruistic behavior in a representative dictator experiment," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 11(3), pages 282-298, September.
  8. Cappelen, Alexander W. & Nygaard, Knut & Sørensen, Erik Ø. & Tungodden, Bertil, 2010. "Efficiency, equality and reciprocity in social preferences: A comparison of students and a representative population," Discussion Paper Series in Economics 28/2010, Department of Economics, Norwegian School of Economics.
  9. Charles A. Holt & Susan K. Laury, 2002. "Risk Aversion and Incentive Effects," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(5), pages 1644-1655, December.
  10. Kagel, John H & Levin, Dan, 1993. "Independent Private Value Auctions: Bidder Behaviour in First-, Second- and Third-Price Auctions with Varying Numbers of Bidders," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 103(419), pages 868-879, July.
  11. Depositario, Dinah Pura T. & Nayga Jr., Rodolfo M. & Wu, Ximing & Laude, Tiffany P., 2009. "Should students be used as subjects in experimental auctions?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 102(2), pages 122-124, February.
  12. Nagel, Rosemarie, 1995. "Unraveling in Guessing Games: An Experimental Study," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(5), pages 1313-1326, December.
  13. Hoffman, Elizabeth & McCabe, Kevin & Smith, Vernon L, 1996. "Social Distance and Other-Regarding Behavior in Dictator Games," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(3), pages 653-660, June.
  14. Colin F. Camerer, 1997. "Progress in Behavioral Game Theory," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 11(4), pages 167-188, Fall.
  15. 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.
  16. Eckel, Catherine C. & Grossman, Philip J., 1996. "Altruism in Anonymous Dictator Games," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 16(2), pages 181-191, October.
  17. Andreas Ortmann & John Fitzgerald & Carl Boeing, 2000. "Trust, Reciprocity, and Social History: A Re-examination," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 3(1), pages 81-100, June.
  18. Peterson, Robert A, 2001. " On the Use of College Students in Social Science Research: Insights from a Second-Order Meta-analysis," Journal of Consumer Research, Oxford University Press, vol. 28(3), pages 450-461, December.
  19. Armin Falk & Stephan Meier & Christian Zehnder, 2013. "Do Lab Experiments Misrepresent Social Preferences? The Case Of Self-Selected Student Samples," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 11(4), pages 839-852, August.
  20. Eckel, Catherine C. & Wilson, Rick K., 2004. "Is trust a risky decision?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 55(4), pages 447-465, December.
  21. Rachel Croson & Uri Gneezy, 2009. "Gender Differences in Preferences," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 47(2), pages 448-474, June.
  22. Chetan Dave & Catherine Eckel & Cathleen Johnson & Christian Rojas, 2010. "Eliciting risk preferences: When is simple better?," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 41(3), pages 219-243, December.
  23. repec:cup:apsrev:v:98:y:2004:i:03:p:437-452_00 is not listed on IDEAS
  24. Berg Joyce & Dickhaut John & McCabe Kevin, 1995. "Trust, Reciprocity, and Social History," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 122-142, July.
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