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Can we infer social preferences from the lab? Evidence from the trust game

  • Nicole M. Baran
  • Paola Sapienza
  • Luigi Zingales

We show that a measure of reciprocity derived from the Berg et al. (1995) trust game in a laboratory setting predicts the reciprocal behavior of the same subjects in a real-world situation. By using the Crowne and Marlowe (1960) social desirability scale, we do not find any evidence that a desire to conform to social norms distorts results in the lab, yet we do find evidence that it affects results in the field.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 15654.

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Date of creation: Jan 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:15654
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  1. Gary Charness & Matthew Rabin, 2003. "Understanding Social Preferences with Simple Tests," General Economics and Teaching 0303002, EconWPA.
  2. Daniel Rondeau & John A. List, 2008. "Matching and Challenge Gifts to Charity:Evidence from Laboratory and Natural Field Experiments," NBER Working Papers 13728, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Glenn Harrison & John List, 2004. "Field experiments," Artefactual Field Experiments 00058, The Field Experiments Website.
  4. Glaeser, Edward Ludwig & Laibson, David I. & Scheinkman, Jose A. & Soutter, Christine L., 2000. "Measuring Trust," Scholarly Articles 4481497, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  5. List, John A. & Price, Michael K., 2009. "The role of social connections in charitable fundraising: Evidence from a natural field experiment," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 69(2), pages 160-169, February.
  6. Imran Rasul & Iwan Barankay & Orana Bandiera, 2005. "Social preferences and the response to incentives: Evidence from personnel data," Natural Field Experiments 00212, The Field Experiments Website.
  7. Nava Ashraf & Dean S. Karlan & Wesley Yin, 2005. "Tying Odysseus to the Mast: Evidence from a Commitment Savings Product in the Philippines," Working Papers 917, Economic Growth Center, Yale University.
  8. Fehr, Ernst & Leibbrandt, Andreas, 2008. "Cooperativeness and Impatience in the Tragedy of the Commons," IZA Discussion Papers 3625, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  9. Carpenter, Jeffrey P. & Seki, Erika, 2005. "Do Social Preferences Increase Productivity? Field Experimental Evidence from Fishermen in Toyama Bay," IZA Discussion Papers 1697, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  10. repec:feb:artefa:0090 is not listed on IDEAS
  11. Steven D. Levitt & John A. List, 2007. "What Do Laboratory Experiments Measuring Social Preferences Reveal About the Real World?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 21(2), pages 153-174, Spring.
  12. John List, 2006. "The behavioralist meets the market: Measuring social preferences and reputation effects in actual transactions," Natural Field Experiments 00300, The Field Experiments Website.
  13. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
  14. Dean S. Karlan, 2005. "Using Experimental Economics to Measure Social Capital And Predict Financial Decisions," Working Papers 909, Economic Growth Center, Yale University.
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