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Competitive in the lab, successful in the field?

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Published on May 20, 2016

In this video from The Choice Lab, researcher Armando J. Garcia Pires discusses results from a laboratory experiment in Tanzania on how competitive behavior in the lab is associated with peoples choices and outcomes in the field. The experiment was conducted together with fellow The Choice Lab researchers Lars Ivar Oppedal Berge, Kjetil Bjorvatn and Bertil Tungodden.
A number of lab experiments in recent years have analyzed people’s willingness to compete. But to what extent is competitive behavior in the lab associated with field choices and outcomes? The researchers address this question in a setting of entrepreneurship, where they combine lab evidence on competitiveness with field evidence on investment, employment decisions, profits, and sales as measures of competitive choices and successful outcomes. They find strong evidence that competitiveness in the lab is positively associated with competitive choices in the field, and weaker but suggestive evidence of a positive link to successful field outcomes. Other relevant cognitive skills and non-cognitive skills measured in the lab, including risk- and time preferences and confidence, are less consistently associated with the field variables. The findings thus suggest that the willingness to compete in the lab identifies an important entrepreneurial trait that shapes the entrepreneur’s field choices and to some extent also field outcomes.
The results are reported in the paper “Competitive in the lab, successful in the field?”. The paper was published in October 2015 in the Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization’s (JEBO), volume 118, pp 303-317. You can read the paper here: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/...

Film, edit and animations by Audun Nydegger Wermundsen and Mette M. K. Espedal.

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