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Free-Riding in the Lab and in the Field

Author

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  • Florian Englmaier
  • Georg Gebhardt

Abstract

To investigate the external validity of laboratory results, we combine a public good experiment with three treatments in a field experiment. One treatment offers the opportunity to free-ride, the other two are placebo treatments. We compare results within subjects. In the free-riding treatment, subjects who contribute little in the lab are less productive. This effect is quantitatively as important as the effect of ability. The correlation between lab and field disappears in the two placebo treatments. We conclude that we can use lab experiments to learn about behavior in situations that share the game form but not necessarily the frame.

Suggested Citation

  • Florian Englmaier & Georg Gebhardt, 2011. "Free-Riding in the Lab and in the Field," CESifo Working Paper Series 3612, CESifo Group Munich.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_3612
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Matteo M. Galizzi & Daniel Navarro Martinez, 2015. "On the external validity of social-preference games: A systematic lab-field study," Economics Working Papers 1462, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
    2. Ritwik Banerjee, 2016. "On the interpretation of bribery in a laboratory corruption game: moral frames and social norms," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 19(1), pages 240-267, March.
    3. Axel Franzen & Sonja Pointner, 2013. "The external validity of giving in the dictator game," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 16(2), pages 155-169, June.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    field and lab experiments; external validity; public goods; team production;

    JEL classification:

    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments
    • D01 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Microeconomic Behavior: Underlying Principles
    • D64 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Altruism; Philanthropy; Intergenerational Transfers

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