From the lab to the field: envelopes, dictators and manners
- 1.3k Downloads
This paper reports results of a natural field experiment on the dictator game where subjects are unaware that they are participating in an experiment. Three other experiments explore, step by step, how laboratory behavior of students relates to field behavior of a general population. In all experiments, subjects display an equally high amount of pro-social behavior, whether they are students or not, participate in a laboratory or not, or are aware of their participating in an experiment or not. This paper shows that there are settings where laboratory behavior of students is predictive for field behavior of a general population.
KeywordsAltruism Dictator game Natural field experiment External validity Misdirected letter technique
JEL ClassificationC70 C91 C93 D63 D64
- Anderson, J., Burks, S., Carpenter, J., Götte, L., Maurer, K., Nosenzo, D., Potter, R., Rocha, K., & Rustichini, A. (2010). Self selection does not increase other-regarding preferences among adult laboratory subjects, but student subjects may be more self-regarding than adults. IZA Discussion Paper, 5389. Google Scholar
- Andreoni, J. (2006). Philanthropy (Vol. 2, Chap. 18, pp. 1201–1269). Amsterdam: Elsevier. Google Scholar
- Bandiera, O., Barankay, I., & Rasul, I. (2005). Social preferences and the response to incentives: evidence from personnel data. The Quarterly Journal of Economics, 120(3), 917–962. Google Scholar
- Camerer, C. (2011). The promise and success of lab-field generalizability in experimental economics: a critical reply to Levitt and List. Working Paper. Google Scholar
- CBS (2010). Bevolking op 1 januari. Centraal Bureau voor de Statisktiek. Google Scholar
- Cleave, B., Nikiforakis, N., & Slonim, R. (2011). Is there selection bias in laboratory experiments? IZA Discussion Paper, 5488. Google Scholar
- Falk, A., & Zehnder, C. (2007). Discrimination and in-group favoritism in a citywide trust experiment. IZA Discussion Paper, 2765. Google Scholar
- Falk, A., Meier, S., & Zehnder, C. (2012). Did we overestimate he role of social preferences? The case of self-selected student samples. Journal of the European Economic Association, forthcoming. Google Scholar
- Franzen, A., & Pointner, S. (2012). The external validity of giving in the dictator game: a field experiment using the misdirected letter technique. Experimental Economics. doi: 10.1007/s10683-012-9337-5.
- Hoffman, E., McCabe, K., & Smith, V. (1996). Social distance and other-regarding behavior in dictator games. The American Economic Review, 86(3), 653–660. Google Scholar
- Kahneman, D., Knetsch, J., & Thaler, R. (1986). Fairness as a constraint on profit seeking: entitlements in the market. The American Economic Review, 76(4), 728–741. Google Scholar
- Kessler, J., & Vesterlund, L. (2011). External validity of laboratory experiments. London: Oxford University Press. Google Scholar
- Lazear, E., Malmendier, U., & Weber, R. (2012). Sorting in experiments with application to social preferences. American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, 4(1), 136–163. Google Scholar
- List, J. (2006b). Field experiments: a bridge between lab and naturally occurring data. Advances in Economic Analysis & Policy, 6(2), 1–45. Google Scholar
- Winking, J., & Mizer, N. (2013). Natural-field dictator game shows no altruistic giving. Evolution and Human Behavior. doi: 10.1016/j.evolhumbehav.2013.04.002.