The Power of App-Based Experiments

49 Pages Posted: 15 Jun 2021 Last revised: 24 Aug 2022

See all articles by Paolo Pin

Paolo Pin

University of Siena - Dipartimento di Economia Politica

Tiziano Rotesi

University of Lausanne

Date Written: August 23, 2022


We elicit and compare behaviors in the laboratory and on a smartphone application that we programmed for this purpose. Participants are selected from the same pool of university students and are subject to the same incentives. Behavior is similar across samples in measures of attitudes towards risk, effort, cognitive ability, strategic reasoning, trust, and lying aversion. Additionally, participants show comparable beliefs about the actions of the other players. We also find quantitative differences: subjects using the app are more generous in the dictator game, faster, and less consistent. These findings show the potential of using smartphone applications to organize experiments, and highlight how a clear and simple interface is important in this environment.

Keywords: Experimental Economics, Laboratory Experiments, Smartphone Applications

JEL Classification: C90, C91

Suggested Citation

Pin, Paolo and Rotesi, Tiziano, The Power of App-Based Experiments (August 23, 2022). Available at SSRN: or

Paolo Pin

University of Siena - Dipartimento di Economia Politica ( email )

Piazza San Francesco 8
Siena, I53100

Tiziano Rotesi (Contact Author)

University of Lausanne ( email )

Quartier Chambronne
Lausanne, Vaud CH-1015

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