IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/eee/jeborg/v70y2009i3p498-507.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Risk attitudes, randomization to treatment, and self-selection into experiments

Author

Listed:
  • Harrison, Glenn W.
  • Lau, Morten I.
  • Elisabet Rutström, E.

Abstract

Randomization to treatment is fundamental to statistical control in the design of experiments. However randomization implies some uncertainty about treatment condition, and individuals differ in their preferences towards taking on risk. Since human subjects often volunteer for experiments or are allowed to drop out of the experiment at any time if they want to, it is possible that the sample observed in an experiment might be biased because of the risk of randomization. On the other hand, the widespread use of a guaranteed show-up fee that is non-stochastic may generate sample selection biases of the opposite direction, encouraging more risk averse samples into experiments. We directly test these hypotheses that risk attitudes play a role in sample selection. Our results suggest that randomization bias does affect the overall level of risk aversion in the sample we observe, but that it does not affect the demographic mix of risk attitudes in the sample. We show that the common use of non-stochastic show-up fees can generate samples that are more risk averse than would otherwise have been observed.

Suggested Citation

  • Harrison, Glenn W. & Lau, Morten I. & Elisabet Rutström, E., 2009. "Risk attitudes, randomization to treatment, and self-selection into experiments," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 70(3), pages 498-507, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:70:y:2009:i:3:p:498-507
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0167-2681(09)00013-4
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only
    ---><---

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version below or search for a different version of it.

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. James J. Heckman, 1976. "The Common Structure of Statistical Models of Truncation, Sample Selection and Limited Dependent Variables and a Simple Estimator for Such Models," NBER Chapters, in: Annals of Economic and Social Measurement, Volume 5, number 4, pages 475-492, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Palfrey, Thomas R. & Pevnitskaya, Svetlana, 2008. "Endogenous entry and self-selection in private value auctions: An experimental study," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 66(3-4), pages 731-747, June.
    3. Glenn W. Harrison & Eric Johnson & Melayne M. McInnes & E. Elisabet Rutström, 2005. "Temporal stability of estimates of risk aversion," Applied Financial Economics Letters, Taylor and Francis Journals, vol. 1(1), pages 31-35, January.
    4. Glenn W. Harrison & Morten I. Lau & Melonie B. Williams, 2002. "Estimating Individual Discount Rates in Denmark: A Field Experiment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(5), pages 1606-1617, December.
    5. Glenn W. Harrison & John A. List, 2004. "Field Experiments," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 42(4), pages 1009-1055, December.
    6. Steffen Andersen & Glenn W. Harrison & Morten I. Lau & E. Elisabet Rutström, 2008. "Eliciting Risk and Time Preferences," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 76(3), pages 583-618, May.
    7. Heckman, James, 2013. "Sample selection bias as a specification error," Applied Econometrics, Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration (RANEPA), vol. 31(3), pages 129-137.
    8. James J. Heckman & Jeffrey A. Smith, 1995. "Assessing the Case for Social Experiments," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 9(2), pages 85-110, Spring.
    9. Glenn W. Harrison & Morten I. Lau & E. Elisabet Rutström, 2007. "Estimating Risk Attitudes in Denmark: A Field Experiment," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 109(2), pages 341-368, June.
    10. Francis Vella, 1998. "Estimating Models with Sample Selection Bias: A Survey," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 33(1), pages 127-169.
    11. Heckman, James J. & Robb, Richard Jr., 1985. "Alternative methods for evaluating the impact of interventions : An overview," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 30(1-2), pages 239-267.
    12. 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.
    13. Steffen Andersen & Glenn Harrison & Morten Lau & E. Rutström, 2009. "Elicitation using multiple price list formats," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 12(3), pages 365-366, September.
    14. Steffen Andersen & Glenn W. Harrison & Morten I. Lau & E. Elisabet Rutström, 2008. "Lost In State Space: Are Preferences Stable?," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 49(3), pages 1091-1112, August.
    15. Mitali Das & Whitney K. Newey & Francis Vella, 2003. "Nonparametric Estimation of Sample Selection Models," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 70(1), pages 33-58.
    16. Dan Lovallo & Colin Camerer, 1999. "Overconfidence and Excess Entry: An Experimental Approach," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(1), pages 306-318, March.
    17. Glenn Harrison & Morten Lau & Elisabet Rutstrom & Melonie Williams, 2006. "Eliciting risk and time preferences using field experiments: Some methodological issues," Artefactual Field Experiments 00063, The Field Experiments Website.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Glenn W. Harrison & Morten I. Lau & Hong Il Yoo, 2020. "Risk Attitudes, Sample Selection, and Attrition in a Longitudinal Field Experiment," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 102(3), pages 552-568, July.
    2. Andersen, Steffen & Harrison, Glenn W. & Lau, Morten Igel & Rutström, E. Elisabet, 2010. "Preference heterogeneity in experiments: Comparing the field and laboratory," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 73(2), pages 209-224, February.
    3. Andersen, Steffen & Harrison, Glenn W. & Lau, Morten I. & Rutström, E. Elisabet, 2014. "Discounting behavior: A reconsideration," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 71(C), pages 15-33.
    4. Hans-Martin Gaudecker & Arthur Soest & Erik Wengström, 2012. "Experts in experiments," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 45(2), pages 159-190, October.
    5. Galizzi, Matteo M. & Machado, Sara R. & Miniaci, Raffaele, 2016. "Temporal stability, cross-validity, and external validity of risk preferences measures: experimental evidence from a UK representative sample," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 67554, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    6. Jan V. Hansen & Rasmus H. Jacobsen & Morten I. Lau, 2016. "Willingness To Pay For Insurance In Denmark," Journal of Risk & Insurance, The American Risk and Insurance Association, vol. 83(1), pages 49-76, January.
    7. repec:imp:wpaper:12579 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Therese Grijalva & Jayson Lusk & W. Shaw, 2014. "Discounting the Distant Future: An Experimental Investigation," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 59(1), pages 39-63, September.
    9. Harrison, Glenn W. & Lau, Morten I. & Rutström, E. Elisabet, 2010. "Individual discount rates and smoking: Evidence from a field experiment in Denmark," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(5), pages 708-717, September.
    10. Hakan J. Holm & Sonja Opper & Victor Nee, 2013. "Entrepreneurs Under Uncertainty: An Economic Experiment in China," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 59(7), pages 1671-1687, July.
    11. Miraldo, M & Galizzi, M & Stavropoulou, C, 2013. "In sickness but not in wealth: Field evidence on patients’ risk preferences in the financial and health domain," Working Papers 31053, Imperial College, London, Imperial College Business School.
    12. Glenn W. Harrison & Eric Johnson & Melayne M. McInnes & E. Elisabet Rutström, 2005. "Risk Aversion and Incentive Effects: Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(3), pages 897-901, June.
    13. Roland Olbrich & Martin F. Quaas & Andreas Haensler & Stefan Baumgaertner, 2011. "Risk preferences under heterogeneous environmental risk," Working Paper Series in Economics 208, University of Lüneburg, Institute of Economics.
    14. Holm, Håkan J. & Opper, Sonja & Nee, Victor, 2012. "Entrepreneurs under Uncertainty: An Economic Experiment," Working Papers 2012:4, Lund University, Department of Economics.
    15. Kerri Brick & Martine Visser & Justine Burns, 2012. "Risk Aversion: Experimental Evidence from South African Fishing Communities," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 94(1), pages 133-152.
    16. Jonathan Chapman & Erik Snowberg & Stephanie Wang & Colin Camerer, 2018. "Loss Attitudes in the U.S. Population: Evidence from Dynamically Optimized Sequential Experimentation (DOSE)," NBER Working Papers 25072, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    17. Galarza, Francisco, 2009. "Choices under Risk in Rural Peru," MPRA Paper 17708, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    18. Drichoutis, Andreas C. & Nayga, Rodolfo M., 2013. "Eliciting risk and time preferences under induced mood states," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 45(C), pages 18-27.
    19. Thomas Dohmen & Armin Falk & David Huffman & Uwe Sunde, 2010. "Are Risk Aversion and Impatience Related to Cognitive Ability?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(3), pages 1238-1260, June.
    20. Philomena M. Bacon & Peter G. Moffatt, 2012. "Mortgage Choice as a Natural Field Experiment on Choice under Risk," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 44(7), pages 1401-1426, October.
    21. Steffen Andersen & Glenn W. Harrison & Morten I. Lau & E. Elisabet Rutström, 2013. "Discounting Behaviour and the Magnitude Effect: Evidence from a Field Experiment in Denmark," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 80(320), pages 670-697, October.

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:70:y:2009:i:3:p:498-507. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/jebo .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Catherine Liu (email available below). General contact details of provider: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/jebo .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.