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Context and interpretation in laboratory experiments: The case of reciprocity

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  • Levati, Maria Vittoria
  • Miettinen, Topi
  • Rai, Birendra

Abstract

The existing literature acknowledges that a mismatch between the experimenter’s and the subjects’ models of an experimental task can adversely affect the interpretation of data from laboratory experiments. We primarily focus on experiments designed to test a hypothesis by comparing behavior across two or more games and highlight the drawbacks of using a between-subjects design or a within subjects design. An alternative design for laboratory experiments is proposed which may alleviate this concern especially in studies of social preferences. We argue that the proposed design does not introduce any conceptual problems in addition to those that are already present in the between and within subjects designs and may alleviate some of the problems inherent to these designs in certain cases. We also use the proposed design to answer some questions that have attracted continued attention in the literature on social preferences in general and reciprocity in particular.

Suggested Citation

  • Levati, Maria Vittoria & Miettinen, Topi & Rai, Birendra, 2011. "Context and interpretation in laboratory experiments: The case of reciprocity," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 32(5), pages 846-856.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:joepsy:v:32:y:2011:i:5:p:846-856
    DOI: 10.1016/j.joep.2011.05.008
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Nadine Chlaß & Peter G. Moffatt, 2017. "Giving in Dictator Games - Experimenter Demand Effect or Preference over the Rules of the Game?," Jena Economic Research Papers 2012-044, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena.
    2. Chaudhuri, Ananish & Li, Yaxiong & Paichayontvijit, Tirnud, 2016. "What’s in a frame? Goal framing, trust and reciprocity," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 57(C), pages 117-135.
    3. Chaudhuri, Ananish & Cruickshank, Amy & Sbai, Erwann, 2015. "Gender differences in personnel management: Some experimental evidence," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 58(C), pages 20-32.
    4. Chaudhuri, Ananish & Paichayontvijit, Tirnud & Shen, Lifeng, 2013. "Gender differences in trust and trustworthiness: Individuals, single sex and mixed sex groups," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 34(C), pages 181-194.
    5. Ananish Chaudhuri & Tirnud Paichayontvijit & Erwann Sbai, 2016. "The Role of Framing, Inequity and History in a Corruption Game: Some Experimental Evidence," Games, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 7(2), pages 1-24, June.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Experimental design; Context; Trust game;

    JEL classification:

    • C70 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - General
    • C90 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - General
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • D64 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Altruism; Philanthropy; Intergenerational Transfers

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