Preference Heterogeneity in Experiments: Comparing the Field and Laboratory

UCF Economics Working Paper No. 04-21

35 Pages Posted: 20 Apr 2005 Last revised: 7 Jan 2008

See all articles by Steffen Andersen

Steffen Andersen

Copenhagen Business School - Department of Finance; CEPR

Glenn W. Harrison

Georgia State University - J. Mack Robinson College of Business

Morten I. Lau

Durham Business School

E. Elisabet Rutström

University of Central Florida - College of Business Administration

Date Written: July 2007

Abstract

Do laboratory experiments provide a reliable basis for measuring field preferences? Economists recognize that preferences can differ across individuals, but only a few attempts have been made to elicit individual preferences for representative samples of a population in a particular geographical area, region or country. Our primary objective is to directly compare estimates of preferences elicited from a convenience sample and the estimates for the wider population from which that sample is drawn. We examine the strengths and weaknesses of laboratory and field experiments to detect differences in preferences over risk and time that are associated with standard, observable characteristics of the individual.

Keywords: Field experiments, lab experiments, risk aversion, discount rates

JEL Classification: C93, C91, D81, D91

Suggested Citation

Andersen, Steffen and Harrison, Glenn William and Lau, Morten Igel and Rutstrom, Elisabet, Preference Heterogeneity in Experiments: Comparing the Field and Laboratory (July 2007). UCF Economics Working Paper No. 04-21, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=698523 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.698523

Steffen Andersen

Copenhagen Business School - Department of Finance ( email )

Solbjerg Plads 3
Frederiksberg C, DK - 2000
Denmark

CEPR ( email )

London
United Kingdom

Glenn William Harrison (Contact Author)

Georgia State University - J. Mack Robinson College of Business ( email )

P.O. Box 4050
Atlanta, GA 30303-3083
United States
407-489-3088 (Phone)
253-830-7636 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.cear.gsu.edu/

Morten Igel Lau

Durham Business School ( email )

Mill Hill Lane
Durham, DH1 3LB
United Kingdom

Elisabet Rutstrom

University of Central Florida - College of Business Administration ( email )

PO Box 161400
Orlando, FL 32816
United States

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