Self Selection Does Not Increase Other-Regarding Preferences Among Adult Laboratory Subjects, But Student Subjects May Be More Self-Regarding than Adults

29 Pages Posted: 27 Dec 2010

See all articles by Jon C. Anderson

Jon C. Anderson

Minnesota Crop Improvement Association

Stephen V. Burks

University of Minnesota, Morris - Division of Social Science; Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA); Center for Decision Research and Experimental Economics (CeDEx); Center for Transportation Studies, University of Minnesota

Jeffrey P. Carpenter

Middlebury College - Department of Economics; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Lorenz Goette

University of Lausanne; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Karsten Maurer

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Daniele Nosenzo

University of Nottingham

Ruth Potter

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Kim Rocha

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Aldo Rustichini

University of Minnesota - Twin Cities - Department of Economics

Abstract

We use a sequential prisoner's dilemma game to measure the other-regarding behavior in samples from three related populations in the upper Midwest of the United States: 100 college students, 94 non-student adults from the community surrounding the college and 1,069 adult trainee truckers in a residential training program. Both of the first two groups were recruited according to procedures commonly used in experimental economics (i.e., via e-mail and bulletin-board advertisements) and therefore subjects self-selected into the experiment. Because the structure of their training program reduced the opportunity cost of participating dramatically, 91% of the solicited trainees participated in the third group, so there was little scope for self-selection in this sample. We find no differences in the elicited other-regarding preferences between the self-selected adults and the adult trainees, suggesting that selection into this type of experiment is unlikely to bias inferences with respect to non-student adult subjects. We also test (and reject) the more specific hypothesis that approval-seeking subjects are the ones most likely to select into experiments. At the same time, we find a large difference between the self-selected students and the self-selected adults from the surrounding community: the students appear considerably less pro-social. Regression results controlling for demographic factors confirm these basic findings.

Keywords: methodology, selection bias, laboratory experiment, field experiment, other-regarding behavior, social preferences, truckload, trucker

JEL Classification: C90, D03

Suggested Citation

Anderson, Jon C. and Burks, Stephen V. and Carpenter, Jeffrey P. and Goette, Lorenz F. and Maurer, Karsten and Nosenzo, Daniele and Potter, Ruth and Rocha, Kim and Rustichini, Aldo, 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 No. 5389. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1731193

Jon C. Anderson

Minnesota Crop Improvement Association ( email )

Marketing Services
1900 Hendon Avenue
St. Paul, MN 55108
United States

Stephen V. Burks

University of Minnesota, Morris - Division of Social Science ( email )

600 East 4th St.
Morris, MN 56267
United States
320-589-6191 (Phone)
320-589-6117 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.morris.umn.edu/academics/truckingproject/

Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

HOME PAGE: http://www.iza.org/en/webcontent/personnel/photos/index_html?key=1883

Center for Decision Research and Experimental Economics (CeDEx) ( email )

University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/cedex/people/external/index.aspx

Center for Transportation Studies, University of Minnesota ( email )

200 Transportation & Safety Bldg.
511 Washington Ave. SE
Minneapolis, MN
United States
612-626-1077 (Phone)
612-625-6381 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.cts.umn.edu/

Jeffrey P. Carpenter

Middlebury College - Department of Economics ( email )

Munroe Hall
Middlebury, VT 05753
United States
802-443-3241 (Phone)
802-443-2084 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://community.middlebury.edu/~jcarpent/index.ht

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Lorenz F. Goette

University of Lausanne ( email )

Department of Economics
Batiment Internef
Lausanne, 1015
Switzerland
(021) 692'3496 (Phone)

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

HOME PAGE: http://www.iza.org

Karsten Maurer

affiliation not provided to SSRN

No Address Available

Daniele Nosenzo

University of Nottingham ( email )

University Park
Nottingham, NG8 1BB
United Kingdom

Ruth Potter

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Kim Rocha

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Aldo Rustichini

University of Minnesota - Twin Cities - Department of Economics ( email )

271 19th Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55455
United States

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