Treatment effect and subject pool diversity: evidence from lab experiments

Principal Investigator(s):

Professor Raymond Duch, Nuffield College, University of Oxford

Mr. Felipe Torres, King’s College London

Most subject pools in experiments conducted in social sciences are drawn from undergraduate students who are usually perceived as a “convenience sample” and preferred to non students for methodological reasons. We expect them to understand the instructions better, be better able to reason in the abstract than other people, and be a relatively more homogenous population. However, an important question is whether students differ in fundamental determinants of behavior in economic games. For example, do they differ in their ability to reason strategically, in their attitudes toward risk or in their pro-sociality? And does this matter for their behavior in experimental games?

This study exploits the inauguration of CESS experimental labs in Oxford (UK), Santiago (Chile),  and Pune (India) to compare the behavior of students and non-students in a number of classic experimental games like the Trust Game, the Beauty Contest, and the Second-price Auction. This lab-in-the-field experiment will be carried out in June 2018 using a combination of Pune undergraduate students and non-student subjects.