Testing the Waters: Behavior across Participant Pools

Erik Snowberg, Leeat Yariv

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

86 Scopus citations


We leverage a large-scale incentivized survey eliciting behaviors from (almost) an entire undergraduate university student population, a representative sample of the US population, and Amazon Mechanical Turk (MTurk) to address concerns about the external validity of experiments with student participants. Behavior in the student population offers bounds on behaviors in other populations, and correlations between behaviors are similar across samples. Furthermore, non-student samples exhibit higher levels of noise. Adding historical lab participation data, we find a small set of attributes over which lab participants differ from non-lab participants. An additional set of lab experiments shows no evidence of observer effects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)687-719
Number of pages33
JournalAmerican Economic Review
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Economics and Econometrics


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