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Video Recordings in Experiments – Are There Effects on Self-Selection or the Outcome of the Experiment?

Discussion Papers 1751, 15 S.

Tim Lohse, Salmai Qari


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The use of video recordings in experimental economics has become increasingly popular. However, little attention is paid to how this might affect the composition of the participating subjects and the intended treatment effect. We make a first attempt to shed light on these issues and address them in an incentivized face-to-face tax compliance experiment. The experiment contains two dimensions; i) the level of the fine for non-compliance; and ii) the presence of a recording video camera. The 2x2 design frees the intended treatment effect of the fine from any effect resulting from the announced use of a camera. Our findings point in the direction that neither gender nor personality traits nor other individual characteristics seem to have the explanatory power to predict participation in sessions’ with or without a camera, respectively. Most importantly, the presence of a recording video camera does not affect subjects’ observed decision behavior in the actual experiment.

Salmai Qari

Research Associate in the Public Economics Department

JEL-Classification: C90;C91;H26
Keywords: Laboratory experiments, subject pools, convenience samples, video recordings, face-to-face interaction, tax compliance, cheating
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