Is there selection bias in laboratory experiments? The case of social and risk preferences
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Laboratory experiments are frequently used to examine the nature of individuals’ social and risk preferences and inform economic theory. However, it is unknown whether the preferences of volunteer participants are representative of the population from which the participants are drawn, or whether they differ due to selection bias. To answer this question, we measured the preferences of 1,173 students in a classroom experiment using a trust game and a lottery choice task. Separately, we invited all students to participate in a laboratory experiment using common recruitment procedures. To evaluate whether there is selection bias, we compare the social and risk preferences of students who eventually participated in a laboratory experiment to those who did not, and find that they do not differ significantly. However, we also find that people who sent less in a trust game were more likely to participate in a laboratory experiment, and discuss possible explanations for this behavior.
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- Is there selection bias in laboratory experiments? The case of social and risk preferences
Volume 16, Issue 3 , pp 372-382
- Cover Date
- Print ISSN
- Online ISSN
- Springer US
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- Selection bias
- Laboratory experiments
- External validity
- Social preferences
- Risk preferences
- Industry Sectors
- Author Affiliations
- 1. Department of Economics, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
- 2. Max-Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods, Bonn, Germany
- 3. Department of Economics, The University of Sydney and IZA, Sydney, Australia