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Who should be called to the lab? A comprehensive comparison of students and non-students in classic experimental games

Author

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  • Michèle Belot
  • Raymond Duch

    (Centre for Experimental Social Sciences, Nuffield College, University of Oxford)

  • Luis Miller

Abstract

This study compares the behavior of students and non-students in a number of classic experimental games. We find that students are more likely to behave as homo-economicus agents than non-students in games involving other-regarding preferences (Dictator Game, Trust Game and Public Good Game). These differences persist even when controlling for demographics, cognitive ability and risk preferences. In games that do not engage other-regarding preferences (Beauty-contest and Second-price Auction) there is limited evidence of differences in behaviour between subject pools. In none of the five games is there evidence of significant differences in comprehension between students and non-students. Within subject analyses indicate that students are highly consistent in their other-regarding preferences while non-student subjects are inconsistent across other-regarding games. Our findings suggest that experiments using students will provide a lower bound estimate of other-regardedness in the general population while exaggerating the stability of other-regarding preferences.

Suggested Citation

  • Michèle Belot & Raymond Duch & Luis Miller, 2010. "Who should be called to the lab? A comprehensive comparison of students and non-students in classic experimental games," Discussion Papers 2010001, University of Oxford, Nuffield College.
  • Handle: RePEc:cex:dpaper:2010001
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    File URL: http://cess-wb.nuff.ox.ac.uk/documents/DP2010/CESS_DP2010_001.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    3. S. Bortolotti & M. Casari & F. Pancotto, 2013. "Norms of Punishment in the General Population," Working Papers wp898, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna.
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    6. Mirco Tonin & Michael Vlassopoulos,, 2013. "Do Social Incentives Matter? Evidence from an Online Real Effort Experiment," Review of Environment, Energy and Economics - Re3, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei, January.
    7. Johannes Abeler & Daniele Nosenzo, 2013. "Self-selection into Economics Experiments is Driven by Monetary Rewards," Discussion Papers 2013-03, The Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics, School of Economics, University of Nottingham.
    8. Tiziana Medda & Vittorio Pelligra & Tommaso Reggiani, 2016. "Does Experience Affect Fairness and Reciprocity in Lab Experiments?," CERBE Working Papers wpC09, CERBE Center for Relationship Banking and Economics.
    9. Frijters, Paul & Kong, Tao Sherry & Liu, Elaine M., 2015. "Who is coming to the artefactual field experiment? Participation bias among Chinese rural migrants," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 114(C), pages 62-74.
    10. 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.
    11. Johannes Abeler & Daniele Nosenzo, 2015. "Self-selection into laboratory experiments: pro-social motives versus monetary incentives," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 18(2), pages 195-214, June.
    12. Antonio A. Arechar & Simon Gächter & Lucas Molleman, 2018. "Conducting interactive experiments online," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 21(1), pages 99-131, March.
    13. Barmettler, Franziska & Fehr, Ernst & Zehnder, Christian, 2012. "Big experimenter is watching you! Anonymity and prosocial behavior in the laboratory," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 75(1), pages 17-34.
    14. 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.
    15. Gambetta, Diego & Székely, Áron, 2014. "Signs and (counter)signals of trustworthiness," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 106(C), pages 281-297.
    16. Mirco Tonin & Michael Vlassopoulos, 2015. "Corporate Philanthropy and Productivity: Evidence from an Online Real Effort Experiment," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 61(8), pages 1795-1811, August.
    17. Tiziana Medda & Vittorio Pelligra & Tommaso Reggiani, 2021. "Lab-Sophistication: Does Repeated Participation in Laboratory Experiments Affect Pro-Social Behaviour?," Games, MDPI, vol. 12(1), pages 1-14, February.
    18. Shaun P. Hargreaves Heap & Eugenio Levi & Abhijit Ramalingam, 2021. "Group identification and giving: in-group love, out-group hate and their crowding out," MUNI ECON Working Papers 2021-07, Masaryk University.
    19. Jorge N Zumaeta, 2021. "Meta-Analysis of Seven Standard Experimental Paradigms Comparing Student to Non-student," Journal of Economics and Behavioral Studies, AMH International, vol. 13(2), pages 22-33.
    20. Hoffman, Mitchell & Morgan, John, 2015. "Who's naughty? Who's nice? Experiments on whether pro-social workers are selected out of cutthroat business environments," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 109(C), pages 173-187.
    21. Shaun P. Hargreaves Heap & Aikaterini Karadimitropoulou & Eugenio Levi, 2021. "Narrative based information: is it the facts or their packaging that matters?," MUNI ECON Working Papers 2021-08, Masaryk University.
    22. Drichoutis, Andreas C. & Vassilopoulos, Achilleas, 2016. "Intertemporal stability of survey-based measures of risk and time preferences over a three-year course," MPRA Paper 73548, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    23. V. Pelligra & T. Reggiani & T. Medda, 2016. "Does Experience Affect Fairness, Reciprocity and Cooperation in Lab Experiments?," Working Paper CRENoS 201610, Centre for North South Economic Research, University of Cagliari and Sassari, Sardinia.
    24. 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).

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    lab experiments; convenience samples; other-regarding preferences; consistency;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • C81 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Data Collection and Data Estimation Methodology; Computer Programs - - - Methodology for Collecting, Estimating, and Organizing Microeconomic Data; Data Access
    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior

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