Are Online Samples Credible? Evidence from Risk Elicitation Tests
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Economic research conducted using online markets has become increasingly common (Keith et al., Frontiers in Psychology, 2017). Researchers question the validity of online studies due to concerns regarding experimental control and incentive salience. To address these concerns, research is continually needed to determine if online markets produce economically meaningful data. We approach this issue using an online experiment exploring subjective and incentivized measures of risk preference. Existing research, using in-person experimental methods, observes subjects making risk-averse choices in incentivized lottery experiments and reports a significant correlation between subjective risk preferences and decisions made in these experiments (Dohmen et al., Journal of the European Economic Association, 2011). If data generated online are economically meaningful, online subjects should behave similarly.
Our experiment used Amazon Mechanical Turk (AMT), an online market where workers...