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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2017

Comprehension in risk elicitation experiments

Rommel, Jens; Hermann, Daniel; Mueller, Malte; Musshoff, Oliver


Economic experiments are increasingly conducted with field populations for whom comprehension of instructions may be more difficult to achieve. We investigate how framing experimental instructions in a familiar context and incentivizing the experimental task may affect comprehension. Based on an experiment with 146 German farmers, we compare four different versions of a Holt-and-Laury multiple price list. We find that incentives have a small positive effect on comprehension, as measured by the probability of making inconsistent choices and subjects' self-assessment. In the absence of incentives, framing negatively affects comprehension. Comprehension is enhanced for farmers who score high on a numeracy test. We conclude that contextual framing might confuse subjects, whereas incentives can help to facilitate comprehension of experimental instructions.


Comprehension in experiments; framing effects; Holt and Laury; incentive effects

Published in

Applied Economics Letters
2017, Volume: 24, number: 9, pages: 627-634

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Business Administration

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