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Social preferences in the online laboratory : A randomized experiment

  • Jérôme Hergueux

    ()

    (LaRGE - Laboratoire de Recherche en Gestion et Economie, IEP Paris - Sciences Po Paris - Institut d'études politiques de Paris)

  • Nicolas Jacquemet

    ()

    (CES - Centre d'économie de la Sorbonne - UP1 - Université Panthéon-Sorbonne - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, BETA - Bureau d'Economie Théorique et Appliquée - Université de Strasbourg - UL - Université de Lorraine - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, PSE - Paris School of Economics)

Internet is a very attractive technology for experiments implementation, both in order to reach more diverse and larger samples and as a field of economic research in its own right. This paper reports on an experiment performed both online and in the laboratory, designed so as to strengthen the internal validity of decisions elicited over the Internet. We use the same subject pool, the same monetary stakes and the same decision interface, and randomly assign two group of subjects between the Internet and a traditional University laboratory to compare behavior in a set of social preferences games. This comparison concludes in favor of the reliability of behaviors elicited through the Internet. Our behavioral results contradict the predictions of social distance theory, as we find that subjects allocated to the Internet treatment behave as if they were more altruistic, more trusting, more trustworthy and less risk averse than laboratory subjects. Those findings have practical importance for the growing community of researchers interested in using the Internet as a vehicle for social experiments and bear interesting methodological lessons for social scientists interested in using experiments to research the Internet as a field.

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Paper provided by HAL in its series Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) with number halshs-00748615.

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Date of creation: Oct 2012
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Publication status: Published in Documents de travail du Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne 2012.70 - ISSN : 1955-611X. 2012
Handle: RePEc:hal:cesptp:halshs-00748615
Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server: https://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/halshs-00748615
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