Wulff, Jesper N., and Anders R. Villadsen. ‘Are Survey Experiments as Valid as Field Experiments in Management Research? An Empirical Comparison Using the Case of Ethnic Employment Discrimination’. European Management Review, vol. 17, no. 1, Mar. 2020, pp. 347–356.
Field experiments have long been the gold standard in studies of organizational topics such as ethnic discrimination in recruitment. The recent use of survey experiments, also known as experimental vignettes, suggests that some researchers believe that survey experiments could be used as an alternative to field experiments. In this study we put this notion to the test. We perform a field experiment followed by two survey experiments on ethnic discrimination in recruitment. While the results of our field experiment are consistent with previous evidence on discrimination, one survey experiment concludes no difference between native and immigrant employees while another concludes positive discrimination. These results should invoke caution in researchers wanting to investigate organizational topics using survey experiments.