IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/kap/expeco/v16y2013i3p372-382.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Is there selection bias in laboratory experiments? The case of social and risk preferences

Author

Listed:
  • Blair Cleave
  • Nikos Nikiforakis

    ()

  • Robert Slonim

Abstract

Laboratory experiments are frequently used to examine the nature of individuals’ social and risk preferences and inform economic theory. However, it is unknown whether the preferences of volunteer participants are representative of the population from which the participants are drawn, or whether they differ due to selection bias. To answer this question, we measured the preferences of 1,173 students in a classroom experiment using a trust game and a lottery choice task. Separately, we invited all students to participate in a laboratory experiment using common recruitment procedures. To evaluate whether there is selection bias, we compare the social and risk preferences of students who eventually participated in a laboratory experiment to those who did not, and find that they do not differ significantly. However, we also find that people who sent less in a trust game were more likely to participate in a laboratory experiment, and discuss possible explanations for this behavior. Copyright Economic Science Association 2013

Suggested Citation

  • Blair Cleave & Nikos Nikiforakis & Robert Slonim, 2013. "Is there selection bias in laboratory experiments? The case of social and risk preferences," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 16(3), pages 372-382, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:expeco:v:16:y:2013:i:3:p:372-382
    DOI: 10.1007/s10683-012-9342-8
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s10683-012-9342-8
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.
    ---><---

    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. Joseph Henrich, 2001. "In Search of Homo Economicus: Behavioral Experiments in 15 Small-Scale Societies," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(2), pages 73-78, May.
    2. Nicholas Bardsley & Robin Cubitt & Graham Loomes & Peter Moffatt & Chris Starmer & Robert Sugden, 2009. "Experimental Economics: Rethinking the Rules," Economics Books, Princeton University Press, edition 1, number 9074, October.
    3. Matthias Benz & Stephan Meier, "undated". "Do People Behave in Experiments as in the Field? � Evidence from Donations," IEW - Working Papers 248, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
    4. Cox, James C., 2004. "How to identify trust and reciprocity," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 46(2), pages 260-281, February.
    5. Bellemare, Charles & Kroger, Sabine, 2007. "On representative social capital," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 51(1), pages 183-202, January.
    6. Werner Güth & Carsten Schmidt & Matthias Sutter, 2007. "Bargaining outside the lab - a newspaper experiment of a three-person ultimatum game," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 117(518), pages 449-469, March.
    7. 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.
    8. Cleave, Blair L. & Nikiforakis, Nikos & Slonim, Robert, 2010. "Is There Selection Bias in Laboratory Experiments?," Working Papers 2010-01, University of Sydney, School of Economics.
    9. 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.
    10. Ernst Fehr & John A. List, 2004. "The Hidden Costs and Returns of Incentives-Trust and Trustworthiness Among CEOs," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 2(5), pages 743-771, September.
    11. 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.
    12. Cameron, Lisa & Chaudhuri, Ananish & Erkal, Nisvan & Gangadharan, Lata, 2009. "Propensities to engage in and punish corrupt behavior: Experimental evidence from Australia, India, Indonesia and Singapore," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(7-8), pages 843-851, August.
    13. Catherine Eckel & Philip Grossman, 2000. "Volunteers and Pseudo-Volunteers: The Effect of Recruitment Method in Dictator Experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 3(2), pages 107-120, October.
    14. Dean S. Karlan, 2005. "Using Experimental Economics to Measure Social Capital and Predict Financial Decisions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(5), pages 1688-1699, December.
    15. Falk, Armin & Meier, Stephan & Zehnder, Christian, 2010. "Did We Overestimate the Role of Social Preferences? The Case of Self-Selected Student Samples," CEPR Discussion Papers 8019, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    16. Slonim, Robert & Wang, Carmen & Garbarino, Ellen & Merrett, Danielle, 2012. "Opting-In: Participation Biases in the Lab," IZA Discussion Papers 6865, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    17. 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.
    18. Steven D. Levitt & John A. List, 2007. "Viewpoint: On the generalizability of lab behaviour to the field," Canadian Journal of Economics/Revue canadienne d'économique, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 40(2), pages 347-370, May.
    19. Carpenter, Jeffrey P. & Burks, Stephen V. & Verhoogen, Eric, 2004. "Comparing Students to Workers: The Effects of Social Framing on Behavior in Distribution Games," IZA Discussion Papers 1341, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    20. Anderson, Jon E. & Burks, Stephen V. & Carpenter, Jeffrey P. & Götte, Lorenz & Maurer, Karsten & Nosenzo, Daniele & Potter, Ruth & Rocha, Kim & Rustichini, Aldo, 2010. "Self Selection Does Not Increase Other-Regarding Preferences among Adult Laboratory Subjects, but Student Subjects May Be More Self-Regarding than Adults," IZA Discussion Papers 5389, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    21. Roe, Brian E. & Haab, Timothy C. & Beversdorf, David Q. & Gu, Howard H. & Tilley, Michael R., 2009. "Risk-attitude selection bias in subject pools for experiments involving neuroimaging and blood samples," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 181-189, April.
    22. Binswanger, Hans P, 1981. "Attitudes toward Risk: Theoretical Implications of an Experiment in Rural India," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 91(364), pages 867-890, December.
    23. Catherine C. Eckel & Philip J. Grossman, 2008. "Forecasting Risk Attitudes: An Experimental Study Using Actual and Forecast Gamble Choices," Monash Economics Working Papers archive-01, Monash University, Department of Economics.
    24. Steven D. Levitt & John A. List, 2007. "What Do Laboratory Experiments Measuring Social Preferences Reveal About the Real World?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 21(2), pages 153-174, Spring.
    25. Berg Joyce & Dickhaut John & McCabe Kevin, 1995. "Trust, Reciprocity, and Social History," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 122-142, July.
    26. Friedman,Daniel & Sunder,Shyam, 1994. "Experimental Methods," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521456821.
    27. 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.
    28. repec:dgr:kubcen:200347 is not listed on IDEAS
    29. Bohnet, Iris & Zeckhauser, Richard, 2004. "Trust, risk and betrayal," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 55(4), pages 467-484, December.
    30. Bellemare, Charles & Kroger, Sabine, 2007. "On representative social capital," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 51(1), pages 183-202, January.
    31. Nava Ashraf & Iris Bohnet & Nikita Piankov, 2006. "Decomposing trust and trustworthiness," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 9(3), pages 193-208, September.
    32. Garbarino, Ellen & Slonim, Robert, 2009. "The robustness of trust and reciprocity across a heterogeneous U.S. population," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 69(3), pages 226-240, March.
    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. Cleave, Blair L. & Nikiforakis, Nikos & Slonim, Robert, 2010. "Is There Selection Bias in Laboratory Experiments?," Working Papers 2010-01, University of Sydney, School of Economics.
    2. Slonim, Robert & Wang, Carmen & Garbarino, Ellen & Merrett, Danielle, 2012. "Opting-In: Participation Biases in the Lab," IZA Discussion Papers 6865, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    3. Slonim, Robert & Wang, Carmen & Garbarino, Ellen & Merrett, Danielle, 2013. "Opting-in: Participation bias in economic experiments," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 90(C), pages 43-70.
    4. Matteo M. Galizzi & Daniel Navarro-Martínez, 2015. "On the External Validity of Social Preference Games: A Systematic Lab-Field Study," Working Papers 802, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
    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. Matteo M. Galizzi & Daniel Navarro-Martinez, 2019. "On the External Validity of Social Preference Games: A Systematic Lab-Field Study," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 65(3), pages 976-1002, March.
    7. Johansson-Stenman, Olof & Mahmud, Minhaj & Martinsson, Peter, 2013. "Trust, trust games and stated trust: Evidence from rural Bangladesh," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 95(C), pages 286-298.
    8. Rachel Croson & Uri Gneezy, 2009. "Gender Differences in Preferences," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 47(2), pages 448-474, June.
    9. Daniel Ji & Pablo Guillen, 2010. "Trust, discrimination and acculturation Experimental evidence on Asian international and Australian domestic university students," ThE Papers 09/12, Department of Economic Theory and Economic History of the University of Granada..
    10. Samuel Bowles & Sandra Polania-Reyes, 2011. "Economic incentives and social preferences: substitutes or complements?," Department of Economics University of Siena 617, Department of Economics, University of Siena.
    11. Croson, Rachel & Gächter, Simon, 2010. "The science of experimental economics," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 73(1), pages 122-131, January.
    12. Jan Stoop, 2014. "From the lab to the field: envelopes, dictators and manners," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 17(2), pages 304-313, June.
    13. Johnson, Noel D. & Mislin, Alexandra A., 2011. "Trust games: A meta-analysis," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 32(5), pages 865-889.
    14. Armin Falk & Stephan Meier & Christian Zehnder, 2010. "Did we Overestimate the Role of Social Preferences? The Case of Self-Selected Student Samples," CESifo Working Paper Series 3177, CESifo.
    15. Tamás Kovács & Marc Willinger, 2010. "Is there a relation between trust and trustworthiness?," Working Papers 10-03, LAMETA, Universtiy of Montpellier, revised Mar 2010.
    16. Falk, Armin & Meier, Stephan & Zehnder, Christian, 2010. "Did We Overestimate the Role of Social Preferences? The Case of Self-Selected Student Samples," CEPR Discussion Papers 8019, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    17. Hans-Martin Gaudecker & Arthur Soest & Erik Wengström, 2012. "Experts in experiments," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 45(2), pages 159-190, October.
    18. van den Akker, Olmo R. & van Assen, Marcel A.L.M. & van Vugt, Mark & Wicherts, Jelte M., 2020. "Sex differences in trust and trustworthiness: A meta-analysis of the trust game and the gift-exchange game," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 81(C).
    19. Bellemare, Charles & Kroger, Sabine, 2007. "On representative social capital," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 51(1), pages 183-202, January.
    20. Martin G. Kocher, 2015. "How Trust in Social Dilemmas Evolves with Age," CESifo Working Paper Series 5447, CESifo.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Selection bias; Laboratory experiments; External validity; Social preferences; Risk preferences; C90; D03;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C90 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - General
    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    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:kap:expeco:v:16:y:2013:i:3:p:372-382. 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: (Sonal Shukla) or (Springer Nature Abstracting and Indexing). General contact details of provider: http://www.springer.com .

    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 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.

    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.