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“Will You Accept Without Knowing What?—A Thuringian Newspaper Experiment of the Yes-No Game”

Werner Güth and Oliver Kirchkamp

Many economic experiments are run in the laboratory with students as participants. In this paper we use a newspaper experiment to learn more about external validity of lab research. Our workhorse is the Yes-No game. Unlike in ultimatum games responders of the Yes-No games do not know the proposal when deciding between whether to accept it or not. We use two different amounts that can be shared (100Euro and 1000Euro). Unlike in other experiments with the ultimatum game we find a (small) effect of the size of the stakes. In line with findings for the ultimatum game, we find more generosity among women, older participants, and participants who submit their decision via mail rather than via Internet. By comparing our results with other studies (using executives or students), we demonstrate, at least for this type of game, the external validity of lab research.

Keywords: newspaper experiment; external validity; Yes-No game

JEL-Code: C91, C93

Supplementary material: Data, R-Code from the paper. Please note that in the paper we also use data from Gehrig, T., Güth, W., Levati, V., Levinsky, R., Ockenfels, A., Uske, T. Weiland, T. (2007). Buying a pig in a poke: An experimental study of unconditional veto power. Journal of Economic Psychology, 28(6), pp. 692-703. The data from their experiment, which we use in the paper, is not included in the data we provide here.