Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=1601712
 
 

Citations (30)



 


 



The Online Laboratory: Conducting Experiments in a Real Labor Market


John J. Horton


New York University (NYU) - Department of Information, Operations, and Management Sciences

David G. Rand


Yale University

Richard J. Zeckhauser


Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS); National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

May 2010

NBER Working Paper No. w15961

Abstract:     
Online labor markets have great potential as platforms for conducting experiments, as they provide immediate access to a large and diverse subject pool and allow researchers to conduct randomized controlled trials. We argue that online experiments can be just as valid – both internally and externally – as laboratory and field experiments, while requiring far less money and time to design and to conduct. In this paper, we first describe the benefits of conducting experiments in online labor markets; we then use one such market to replicate three classic experiments and confirm their results. We confirm that subjects (1) reverse decisions in response to how a decision-problem is framed, (2) have pro-social preferences (value payoffs to others positively), and (3) respond to priming by altering their choices. We also conduct a labor supply field experiment in which we confirm that workers have upward sloping labor supply curves. In addition to reporting these results, we discuss the unique threats to validity in an online setting and propose methods for coping with these threats. We also discuss the external validity of results from online domains and explain why online results can have external validity equal to or even better than that of traditional methods, depending on the research question. We conclude with our views on the potential role that online experiments can play within the social sciences, and then recommend software development priorities and best practices.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 38

working papers series


Download This Paper

Date posted: May 10, 2010  

Suggested Citation

Horton, John J. and Rand, David G. and Zeckhauser, Richard J., The Online Laboratory: Conducting Experiments in a Real Labor Market (May 2010). NBER Working Paper No. w15961. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1601712

Contact Information

John J. Horton (Contact Author)
New York University (NYU) - Department of Information, Operations, and Management Sciences ( email )
44 West Fourth Street
New York, NY 10012
United States
6175952437 (Phone)
HOME PAGE: http://john-joseph-horton.com
David G. Rand
Yale University ( email )
New Haven, CT 06520
United States
HOME PAGE: http://www.DaveRand.org
Richard J. Zeckhauser
Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) ( email )
79 John F. Kennedy Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
617-495-1174 (Phone)
617-384-9340 (Fax)
National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )
1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
617-495-1174 (Phone)
617-496-3783 (Fax)
Feedback to SSRN


Paper statistics
Abstract Views: 645
Downloads: 37
Citations:  30

© 2014 Social Science Electronic Publishing, Inc. All Rights Reserved.  FAQ   Terms of Use   Privacy Policy   Copyright   Contact Us
This page was processed by apollo5 in 0.297 seconds