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Context and Interpretation in Laboratory Experiments: The Case of Reciprocity

Maria Levati (), Topi Miettinen () and Birendra Rai ()

No 2010-090, Jena Economic Research Papers from Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena

Abstract: The existing literature acknowledges that a mismatch between the experimenter's and the subjects' models of an experimental task can adversely affect the interpretation of data from laboratory experiments. We discuss why the two common experimental designs (between-subjects and within-subjects) used to conduct experiments may fail to sufficiently account for this concern. An alternative design for laboratory experiments is proposed which may alleviate this concern especially in studies of social preferences. The proposed design is used to answer some questions that have attracted continued attention in the literature on social preferences in general and reciprocity in particular.

Keywords: Experimental design; Context; Trust game (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C70 C90 D63 D64 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2010-12-14
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-cbe, nep-ecm, nep-evo, nep-exp, nep-hpe and nep-soc
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Journal Article: Context and interpretation in laboratory experiments: The case of reciprocity (2011) Downloads
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