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From the field to the lab. An experiment on the representativeness of standard laboratory subjects

Luca Frigau, Tiziana Medda and Vittorio Pelligra

Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), 2019, vol. 78, issue C, 160-169

Abstract: We replicate in the laboratory an artefactual field experiment originally designed to investigate the incidence of various forms of social preferences in a representative sample of the population. Results show that, on aggregate, the two groups display a similar directional pattern in a set of simple dictator games. However, in situations in which giving is costly (or rewarding) for the dictator, the proportion of laboratory subjects who follow their self-interest is relatively higher than that in the rest of the population. We note a higher sensitivity of students, both from the laboratory and the field, to the possibility of losing part of their own payoff. Furthermore, students from the lab (all economics majors) are more sensitive to gains than students from different backgrounds even when these gains go against equality.

Keywords: Experimental methodology; External validity; Prosocial behavior (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C91 D03 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2019
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Working Paper: From the Field to the Lab. An Experiment on the Representativeness of Standard Laboratory Subjects (2017) Downloads
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DOI: 10.1016/j.socec.2018.06.003

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