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Norms in the lab: Inexperienced versus experienced participants

Schmidt, Robert J. ; Schwieren, Christiane ; Sproten, Alec N.

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Abstract

Using coordination games, we study whether social norm perception differs between inexperienced and experienced participants in economic laboratory experiments. We find substantial differences between the two groups, both regarding injunctive and descriptive social norms in the context of participation in lab experiments. By contrast, social norm perception for the context of daily life does not differ between the two groups. We therefore conclude that learning through experience is more important than selection effects for understanding differences between the two groups. We also conduct exploratory analyses on the relation between lab and field norms and find that behaving unsocial in an experiment is considered substantially more appropriate than in daily life. This appears inconsistent with the hypothesis that social preferences measured in lab experiments are inflated and indicates a distinction between revealed social preferences as measured commonly and the elicitation of normatively appropriate behavior.

Item Type: Working paper
Series Name: Discussion Paper Series / University of Heidelberg, Department of Economics
Volume: 0666
Place of Publication: Heidelberg
Date Deposited: 27 Sep 2019 13:53
Date: September 2019
Number of Pages: 24
Faculties / Institutes: The Faculty of Economics and Social Studies > Alfred-Weber-Institut for Economics
Subjects: 330 Economics
Controlled Keywords: laboratory experiments, selection effects, learning, generalizability, methodology
Schriftenreihe ID: Discussion Paper Series / University of Heidelberg, Department of Economics

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