Turking in the time of COVID
Antonio A. Arechar, Profesor Investigador Titular de la División de Economía del CIDE, y David G. Rand escribieron el artículo Turking in the time of COVID en la revista Behavior Research Methods.
On March 16, 2020, the US Government introduced strict social distancing protocols for the United States in an effort to stem the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. This had an immediate major effect on the job market, with millions of Americans forced to find alternative ways to make a living from home. As online labor markets like Amazon Mechanical Turk (MTurk) play a major role in social science research, concerns have been raised that the pandemic may be reducing the diversity of subjects participating in experiments. Here, we investigate this possibility empirically. Specifically, we look at 15,539 responses gathered in 23 studies run on MTurk between February and July 2020, examining the distribution of gender, age, ethnicity, political preference, and analytic cognitive style. We find notable changes on some of the measures following the imposition of nationwide social distancing: participants are more likely to be less reflective (as measured by the Cognitive Reflection Test), and somewhat less likely to be white, Democrats (traditionally over-represented on MTurk), and experienced with MTurk. Most of these differences are explained by an influx of new participants into the MTurk subject pool who are more diverse and representative – but also less attentive – than previous MTurkers.
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