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Free Riding in the Lab and in the Field

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  • Englmaier, Florian
  • Gebhardt, Georg

Abstract

We run a public good experiment in the field and in the lab with (partly) the same subjects. The field experiment is a true natural field experiment as subjects do not know that they are exposed to an experimental variation. We can show that subjects' behavior in the classic lab public good experiment correlates with their behavior in the structurally comparable public good treatment in the field but not with behavior in any of two control treatments we ran in the field. This effect is also economically significant. We conclude that a) the classic lab public good experiment captures important aspects of structurally equivalent real life situations and b) that behavior in lab and field at least in our setting is driven by the same underlying forces.

Suggested Citation

  • Englmaier, Florian & Gebhardt, Georg, 2010. "Free Riding in the Lab and in the Field," Discussion Paper Series of SFB/TR 15 Governance and the Efficiency of Economic Systems 344, Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University of Berlin, University of Bonn, University of Mannheim, University of Munich.
  • Handle: RePEc:trf:wpaper:344
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Matteo M. Galizzi & Daniel Navarro Martinez, 2015. "On the external validity of social-preference games: A systematic lab-field study," Economics Working Papers 1462, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
    2. Ritwik Banerjee, 2016. "On the interpretation of bribery in a laboratory corruption game: moral frames and social norms," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 19(1), pages 240-267, March.
    3. Axel Franzen & Sonja Pointner, 2013. "The external validity of giving in the dictator game," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 16(2), pages 155-169, June.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Field and Lab Experiments; External Validity; Public Goods; Team Production;

    JEL classification:

    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments
    • D01 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Microeconomic Behavior: Underlying Principles
    • D64 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Altruism; Philanthropy; Intergenerational Transfers

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