Working Papers, Department of Economics, Lund University
Experience in Public Goods Experiments
(), Vittoria Levati
() and Natalia Montinari
Abstract: We use information on students' past participation in
economic experiments, as stored in our database, to analyze whether
behavior in public goods games is affected by experience (i.e., previous
participation in social dilemma-type experiments) and history (i.e.,
participation in experiments of a different class than the social dilemma).
We have three main results. First, at the aggregate level, the amount
subjects contribute and expect others to contribute decrease with
experience. Second, a mixture model reveals that the proportion of
unconditional cooperators decreases with experience, while that of selfish
individuals increases. Finally, history also influences behavior, although
to a lesser extent than experience. Our findings have important
methodological implications for researchers, who are urged to control for
subjects' experience and history in their experiments if they want to
improve the external validity and replicability of their results.
Keywords: Public goods experiments; Social preferences; Mixture models; Experience; History; (follow links to similar papers)
JEL-Codes: C35; C51; C72; H41; (follow links to similar papers)
33 pages, May 18, 2014
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