The Power of App-Based Experiments

41 Pages Posted: 15 Jun 2021

See all articles by Paolo Pin

Paolo Pin

University of Siena - Dipartimento di Economia Politica

Tiziano Rotesi

University of Lausanne

Date Written: June 2021


We compare the performance of subjects in economic experiments run either in the lab or on a smartphone app.

Behavior is similar across samples: participants respond essentially in the same way with respect to standard behavioral measures of risk aversion, effort, focus, cognitive ability, strategic reasoning and social preferences. Participants show also similar beliefs about the actions of the other players.

We find anyway some differences: subjects on the app (i.e., outside the lab) are more prone to errors on boring tasks, prefer to provide a wrong answer rather than letting time expire, and tend to be slightly more generous and trustful with respect to the other subjects in the same session.

Keywords: Experimental Economics, Laboratory Experiments, Online Experiments

JEL Classification: C91, C93

Suggested Citation

Pin, Paolo and Rotesi, Tiziano, The Power of App-Based Experiments (June 2021). 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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