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Do experimental subjects favor their friends?

  • Brañas Garza, Pablo
  • Espinosa Alejos, María Paz
  • Durán, Miguel A.

Ideally we would like subjects of experiments to be perfect strangers so that the situation they face at the lab is not just part of a long run interaction. Unfortunately, it is not easy to reach those conditions and experimenters try to mitigate any effects from those out-of-the-lab relationships by, for instance, randomly matching subjects. However, even if this type of procedure is used, there is a positive probability that a subject may face a friend or an acquaintance. We find evidence that social proximity between subjects is irrelevant to experiment results in dictator games. Thus, although ideal conditions are not met, relations between subjects do not contaminate the results of experiments.

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10810/6742
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Paper provided by University of the Basque Country - Department of Foundations of Economic Analysis II in its series DFAEII Working Papers with number 2005-12.

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Date of creation: Jun 2005
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Handle: RePEc:ehu:dfaeii:200512
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Order Information: Postal: Dpto. de Fundamentos del Análisis Económico II, = Facultad de CC. Económicas y Empresariales, Universidad del País Vasco, Avda. Lehendakari Aguirre 83, 48015 Bilbao, Spain
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  1. Pablo Brañas-Garza & Ramón Cobo-Reyes & Natalia Jiménez & Giovanni Ponti, 2005. "An experimental device to elicit social networks," ThE Papers 05/19, Department of Economic Theory and Economic History of the University of Granada..
  2. Pablo Brañas-Garza, 2003. "Poverty in Dictator Games: Awakening Solidarity," IESA Working Papers Series 0303, Institute for Social Syudies of Andalusia - Higher Council for Scientific Research.
  3. Gary E. Bolton & Rami Zwick & Elena Katok, 1998. "Dictator game giving: Rules of fairness versus acts of kindness," International Journal of Game Theory, Springer, vol. 27(2), pages 269-299.
  4. Frank, Bjorn, 1998. "Good news for experimenters: subjects do not care about your welfare," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 61(2), pages 171-174, November.
  5. Hoffman, Elizabeth & McCabe, Kevin & Smith, Vernon L, 1996. "Social Distance and Other-Regarding Behavior in Dictator Games," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(3), pages 653-60, June.
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