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Self-Selection and Variations in the Laboratory Measurment of Other-Regarding Preferences Across Subject Pools: Evidence from One College Student and Two Adult Samples

  • D Nosenzo

    ()

    (School of Economics, the University of Nottingham)

  • Jon Anderson

    (Division of Science and Mathematics, University of Minnesota)

  • Stephen V Burks

    (Division of Social Science, University of Minnesota)

  • Jeffrey Carpenter

    (Department of Economics, Middlebury College)

  • Lorenz Gotte

    (Faculty of Business and Economics, University of Lausanne)

  • Karsten Maurer

    (Department of Statistics, Iowa State University)

  • Ruth Potter

    (Division of Social Science, University of Minnesota)

  • Kim Rocha

    (Division of Social Science, University of Minnesota)

  • Aldo Rustichini

    (Department of Economics, University of Minnesota)

We measure the other-regarding behavior in samples from three related populations in the upper Midwest of the United States: college students, non-student adults from the community surrounding the college, and adult trainee truckers in a residential training program. The use of typical experimental economics recruitment procedures made the first two groups substantially self-selected. Because the context reduced the opportunity cost of participating dramatically, 91% of the adult trainees solicited participated, leaving little scope for self-selection in this sample. We find no differences in the elicited other-regarding preferences between the selfselected adults and the adult trainees, suggesting that selection is unlikely to bias inferences about the prevalence of other-regarding preferences among non-student adult subjects. Our data also reject the more specific hypothesis that approval-seeking subjects are the ones most likely to select into experiments. Finally, we observe a large difference between self-selected college students and self-selected adults: the students appear considerably less pro-social.

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File URL: http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/cedex/documents/papers/cedex-discussion-paper-2012-14.pdf
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Paper provided by The Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics, School of Economics, University of Nottingham in its series Discussion Papers with number 2012-14.

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Date of creation: 2012
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Handle: RePEc:not:notcdx:2012-14
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Web page: http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/economics/cedex/

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