Experimental Economics

, Volume 17, Issue 2, pp 304–313 | Cite as

From the lab to the field: envelopes, dictators and manners

  • Jan StoopEmail author
Original Paper


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.


Altruism Dictator game Natural field experiment External validity Misdirected letter technique 

JEL Classification

C70 C91 C93 D63 D64 

Supplementary material

10683_2013_9368_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (40 kb)
(PDF 40 kB)


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Copyright information

© Economic Science Association 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Erasmus School of EconomicsErasmus University RotterdamRotterdamThe Netherlands

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