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Subject Pools and Deception in Agricultural and Resource Economic Experiments

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  • Timothy N. Cason
  • Steven Y. Wu

Abstract

The use of student subjects and deception in experiments are two controversial issues that often raise concerns among editors and reviewers, which might prevent quality research from being published in agricultural and resource economics (ARE) journals. We provide a self-contained methodological discussion of these issues. We argue that field professionals are the most appropriate subjects for questions related to policy or measurement, and students are the most appropriate subjects for scientific research questions closely tied to economic theory. Active deception, where subjects are provided with explicitly misleading information, has been avoided in the mainstream economics discipline because it can lead to a loss of experimental control, lead to subject selection bias, and impose negative externalities on other researchers. Disciplinary ARE journals may want to abide by these norms against deception to maintain credibility. Interdisciplinary ARE journals may have more flexibility, although it is important to provide guidelines to avoid too much reviewer-specific variation in standards. For ARE researchers, we suggest employing a deception-free experimental design whenever possible because we know of no field in which deception is encouraged.

Suggested Citation

  • Timothy N. Cason & Steven Y. Wu, 2018. "Subject Pools and Deception in Agricultural and Resource Economic Experiments," Purdue University Economics Working Papers 1314, Purdue University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:pur:prukra:1314
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    3. Gruner, Sven & Lehberger, Mira & Hirschauer, Norbert & Mußhoff, Oliver, 2022. "How (un)informative are experiments with students for other social groups? A study of agricultural students and farmers," Australian Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society, vol. 66(03), January.
    4. Sven Grüner & Mira Lehberger & Norbert Hirschauer & Oliver Mußhoff, 2022. "How (un)informative are experiments with students for other social groups? A study of agricultural students and farmers," Australian Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society, vol. 66(3), pages 471-504, July.
    5. Barreiro-Hurle, Jesus & Dessart, Francois J. & Rommel, Jens & Czajkowski, Mikołaj & Espinosa-Goded, Maria & Rodriguez-Entrena, Macario & Thomas, Fabian & Zagorska, Katarzyna, 2023. "Willing or complying? The delicate interplay between voluntary and mandatory interventions to promote farmers' environmental behavior," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 120(C).
    6. Michels, Marius & Luo, Hao & Weller von Ahlefeld, Paul Johann & Mußhoff, Oliver, 2023. "Compliance with pre-harvest interval rules in apple production—A comparative analysis of green nudges among fruit growers and agricultural students in Germany," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 102(C).
    7. Wu, Steven Y., 2021. "Determinants of Relational Contract Performance: Experimental Evidence," 2021 Allied Social Sciences Association (ASSA) Annual Meeting (Virtual), January 3-5, 2021, San Diego, California 308455, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    8. Marianne Lefebvre & Jesus Barreiro‐Hurlé & Jens Rommel, 2021. "Un‐nudgeable Nudgers: An Experiment on Voluntary Contribution to an Academic Network Working on the CAP. A Note," Journal of Agricultural Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 72(2), pages 628-634, June.
    9. Liu, Zhaoyang & Banerjee, Simanti & Cason, Timothy N. & Hanley, Nick & Liu, Qi & Xu, Jintao & Kontoleon, Andreas, 2023. "Spatially Coordinated Conservation Auctions: A Framed Field Experiment Focusing on Farmland Wildlife Conservation in China," 97th Annual Conference, March 27-29, 2023, Warwick University, Coventry, UK 334572, Agricultural Economics Society - AES.
    10. Leah H. Palm-Forster & Paul J. Ferraro & Nicholas Janusch & Christian A. Vossler & Kent D. Messer, 2019. "Behavioral and Experimental Agri-Environmental Research: Methodological Challenges, Literature Gaps, and Recommendations," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 73(3), pages 719-742, July.
    11. Timothy N. Cason & Lana Friesen & Lata Gangadharan, 2021. "Complying with environmental regulations: experimental evidence," Chapters, in: Ananish Chaudhuri (ed.), A Research Agenda for Experimental Economics, chapter 4, pages 69-92, Edward Elgar Publishing.
    12. Marianne Lefebvre & Jesus Barreiro‐Hurlé & Ciaran Blanchflower & Liesbeth Colen & Laure Kuhfuss & Jens Rommel & Tanja Šumrada & Fabian Thomas & Sophie Thoyer, 2021. "Can Economic Experiments Contribute to a More Effective CAP?," EuroChoices, The Agricultural Economics Society, vol. 20(3), pages 42-49, December.
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    14. Peth, Denise & Mußhoff, Oliver, 2018. "Comparing compliance behaviour of students and farmers: Implications for agricultural policy impact analysis," DARE Discussion Papers 1809, Georg-August University of Göttingen, Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Development (DARE).
    15. Collin Weigel & Laura A. Paul & Paul J. Ferraro & Kent D. Messer, 2021. "Challenges in Recruiting U.S. Farmers for Policy‐Relevant Economic Field Experiments," Applied Economic Perspectives and Policy, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 43(2), pages 556-572, June.
    16. Gary Charness & Anya Samek & Jeroen Ven, 2022. "What is considered deception in experimental economics?," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 25(2), pages 385-412, April.
    17. Denise Peth & Oliver Mußhoff, 2020. "Comparing Compliance Behaviour of Students and Farmers. An Extra‐laboratory Experiment in the Context of Agri‐environmental Nudges in Germany," Journal of Agricultural Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 71(2), pages 601-615, June.
    18. Nuño Ledesma José G. & Wu Steven Y. & Balagtas Joseph V., 2022. "Nonlinear Pricing Under Regulation: Comparing Cap Rules and Taxes in the Laboratory," Working Papers 2022-10, Banco de México.
    19. Ahsanuzzaman, & Palm-Forster, Leah H. & Suter, Jordan F., 2022. "Experimental evidence of common pool resource use in the presence of uncertainty," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 194(C), pages 139-160.

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    JEL classification:

    • C9 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments
    • Q10 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - General
    • Q30 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Nonrenewable Resources and Conservation - - - General
    • Q50 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - General

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