Lab Measures of Other-Regarding Preferences Can Predict Some Related On-the-Job Behavior: Evidence from a Large Scale Field Experiment

41 Pages Posted: 7 Mar 2016

See all articles by Stephen V. Burks

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

Daniele Nosenzo

University of Nottingham

Jon Anderson

University of Minnesota - Morris

Matthew Bombyk

Innovations for Poverty Action

Derek Ganzhorn

Northwestern University

Lorenz Götte

University of Bonn

Aldo Rustichini

University of Minnesota - Twin Cities - Department of Economics

Abstract

We measure a specific form of other-regarding behavior, costly cooperation with an anonymous other, among 645 subjects at a trucker training program in the Midwestern US. Using subjects' second-mover strategy in a sequential form of the Prisoners' Dilemma, we categorize subjects as: Free Rider, Conditional Cooperator, and Unconditional Cooperator. We observe the subjects on the job for up to two years afterwards in two naturally-occurring choices – whether to send two types of satellite uplink messages from their trucks. The first identifies trailers requiring repair, which benefits fellow drivers, while the second benefits the experimenters by giving them some follow-up data. Because of the specific nature of the technology and job conditions (which we carefully review) each of these otherwise situationally similar field decisions represents an act of costly cooperation towards an anonymous other in a setting that does not admit of repeated-game or reputation-effect explanations. We find that individual differences in costly cooperation observed in the lab do predict individual differences in the field in the first choice but not the second. We suggest that this difference is linked to the difference in the social identities of the beneficiaries (fellow drivers versus experimenters), and we conjecture that whether or not individual variations in pro-sociality generalize across settings (whether in the lab or field) may depend in part on this specific contextual factor: whether the social identities, and the relevant prescriptions (or norms) linked to them that are salient for subjects (as in Akerlof and Kranton (2000); (2010)), are appropriately parallel.

Keywords: experiments, generalizability, external validity, parallelism, social identity, other-regarding behavior, costly cooperation, social preferences, prisoners' dilemma, trucker, truckload

JEL Classification: B4, C9, D03

Suggested Citation

Burks, Stephen V. and Nosenzo, Daniele and Anderson, Jon and Bombyk, Matthew and Ganzhorn, Derek and Götte, Lorenz and Rustichini, Aldo, Lab Measures of Other-Regarding Preferences Can Predict Some Related On-the-Job Behavior: Evidence from a Large Scale Field Experiment. IZA Discussion Paper No. 9767. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2742555

Stephen V. Burks (Contact Author)

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/

Daniele Nosenzo

University of Nottingham ( email )

University Park
Nottingham, NG8 1BB
United Kingdom

Jon Anderson

University of Minnesota - Morris

109 Camden Hall
Morris, MN 56267
United States

Matthew Bombyk

Innovations for Poverty Action

Derek Ganzhorn

Northwestern University

2001 Sheridan Road
Evanston, IL 60208
United States

Lorenz Götte

University of Bonn

Regina-Pacis-Weg 3
Postfach 2220
Bonn, D-53012
Germany

Aldo Rustichini

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

271 19th Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55455
United States

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