We use a sample of subsistence farmers in Sierra Leone as respondents to compare behavior in a context-free experiment (a standard public goods game) and behavior in the field (a real development intervention). There is no meaningful correlation in behavior across contexts. This casts doubt on the prospect of using lab experiments as “predictors” of behavior in real life.
Voors, M. J., Turley, T., Kontoleon, A., Bulte, E. H., & List, J. A. (2012). Exploring whether behavior in context-free experiments is predictive of behavior in the field: Evidence from public good experiments in rural Sierra Leone. Economics Letters, 114(3), 308-311. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.econlet.2011.10.016