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Self Selection Does Not Increase Other-Regarding Preferences among Adult Laboratory Subjects, but Student Subjects May Be More Self-Regarding than Adults

Author

Listed:
  • Anderson, Jon E.

    () (University of Minnesota, Morris)

  • Burks, Stephen V.

    () (University of Minnesota, Morris)

  • Carpenter, Jeffrey P.

    () (Middlebury College)

  • Götte, Lorenz

    () (University of Bonn)

  • Maurer, Karsten

    (Iowa State University)

  • Nosenzo, Daniele

    () (University of Nottingham)

  • Potter, Ruth

    (University of Minnesota, Morris)

  • Rocha, Kim

    (University of Minnesota, Morris)

  • Rustichini, Aldo

    () (University of Minnesota)

Abstract

We use a sequential prisoner's dilemma game to measure the other-regarding behavior in samples from three related populations in the upper Midwest of the United States: 100 college students, 94 non-student adults from the community surrounding the college and 1,069 adult trainee truckers in a residential training program. Both of the first two groups were recruited according to procedures commonly used in experimental economics (i.e., via e-mail and bulletin-board advertisements) and therefore subjects self-selected into the experiment. Because the structure of their training program reduced the opportunity cost of participating dramatically, 91% of the solicited trainees participated in the third group, so there was little scope for self-selection in this sample. We find no differences in the elicited other-regarding preferences between the self-selected adults and the adult trainees, suggesting that selection into this type of experiment is unlikely to bias inferences with respect to non-student adult subjects. We also test (and reject) the more specific hypothesis that approval-seeking subjects are the ones most likely to select into experiments. At the same time, we find a large difference between the self-selected students and the self-selected adults from the surrounding community: the students appear considerably less pro-social. Regression results controlling for demographic factors confirm these basic findings.

Suggested Citation

  • Anderson, Jon E. & Burks, Stephen V. & Carpenter, Jeffrey P. & Götte, Lorenz & Maurer, Karsten & Nosenzo, Daniele & Potter, Ruth & Rocha, Kim & Rustichini, Aldo, 2010. "Self Selection Does Not Increase Other-Regarding Preferences among Adult Laboratory Subjects, but Student Subjects May Be More Self-Regarding than Adults," IZA Discussion Papers 5389, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp5389
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Gachter, Simon & Herrmann, Benedikt & Thoni, Christian, 2004. "Trust, voluntary cooperation, and socio-economic background: survey and experimental evidence," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 55(4), pages 505-531, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. Jan Stoop, 2014. "From the lab to the field: envelopes, dictators and manners," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 17(2), pages 304-313, June.
    2. Blair Cleave & Nikos Nikiforakis & Robert Slonim, 2013. "Is there selection bias in laboratory experiments? The case of social and risk preferences," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 16(3), pages 372-382, September.
    3. Kyriaki Remoundou & Andreas Drichoutis & Phoebe Koundouri, "undated". "Warm glow in charitable auctions: Are the WEIRDos driving the results?," DEOS Working Papers 1026, Athens University of Economics and Business.
    4. Guillén, Pablo & Veszteg, Róbert F., 2012. "On “lab rats”," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 41(5), pages 714-720.
    5. Koch, Christian, 2013. "The Virtue Ethics Hypothesis: Is there a nexus between virtues and well-being?," Annual Conference 2013 (Duesseldorf): Competition Policy and Regulation in a Global Economic Order 80054, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    6. Slonim, Robert & Wang, Carmen & Garbarino, Ellen & Merrett, Danielle, 2012. "Opting-In: Participation Biases in the Lab," IZA Discussion Papers 6865, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    methodology; social preferences; truckload; laboratory experiment; selection bias; other-regarding behavior; field experiment; trucker;

    JEL classification:

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

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