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Experimental Subjects are Not Different

Author

Listed:
  • Filippos Exadaktylos

    (GLoBE, University of Granada)

  • Antonio M. Espin

    (GLoBE, University of Granada)

  • Pablo Branas-Garza

    (GLoBE, University of Granada and Economic Science Institute, Chapman University)

Abstract

Experiments using economic games are becoming a major source for the study of human social behavior. These experiments are usually conducted with university students who voluntarily choose to participate. Across the natural and social sciences, there is some concern about how this “particular” subject pool may systematically produce biased results. Focusing on social preferences, this study employs data from a survey experiment conducted with a representative sample of a city’s population (N=765). We report behavioral data from five experimental decisions in three canonical games: dictator, ultimatum and trust games. The dataset includes students and non-students as well as volunteers and nonvolunteers. We separately examine the effects of being a student and being a volunteer on behavior, which allows a ceteris paribus comparison between self-selected students (students*volunteers) and the representative population. Our results suggest that self-selected students are an appropriate subject pool for the study of social behavior.

Suggested Citation

  • Filippos Exadaktylos & Antonio M. Espin & Pablo Branas-Garza, 2012. "Experimental Subjects are Not Different," Working Papers 12-11, Chapman University, Economic Science Institute.
  • Handle: RePEc:chu:wpaper:12-11
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    File URL: http://www.chapman.edu/research-and-institutions/economic-science-institute/_files/WorkingPapers/branas-garza-students-volunteers-and-subjects.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    experimental economics; external validity; subject pool; selfselection bias; field experiment.;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

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

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