Students as Surrogates for Managers: Evaluating the Conclusions from a Replicated Accounting Experiment
Simon Fraser University
Irene M. Gordon
Beedie School of Business, Simon Fraser University
September 15, 2011
The use of students as surrogates for managers in experiments is commonplace, yet the validity of this practice has not been established. This paper contributes to our understanding of the appropriateness of using student samples by replicating a manager-based experiment with students and comparing the outcome. The result is that student responses are significantly different from manager responses, but both samples lead to the same conclusion with respect to the research question in the experiment. This suggests that having some disassociation between students and the target population they are meant to represent does not necessarily have an adverse effect on inference. Student characteristics are then examined to identify subgroups that are most similar to managers. The findings are that students with work experience, average grades, and a background suited to the experiment are the best surrogates for managers.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 31
Keywords: students, surrogates, experiments
JEL Classification: M41
Date posted: April 14, 2012
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