The course offers an introductory overview of the field of experimental economics, combined with an overview of the most important developments over the past decades. These developments include the rapid growth of the closely related field of behavioral economics and the increased use of field experiments. Because experimental economics is a methodology often used to test economic theory, the course will also cover theoretical issues (more specifically, game theory), when appropriate. The topics to be covered include Experimental Methodology; Behavioral Economics (public goods, bargaining, other-regarding preferences); Industrial Organization (auctions, double auction, market power, mechanism design); Individual Decision Making (expected utility; behavioral anomalies); and Analysis of Experimental Data.
The course consists of a combination of (i) lectures given by the instructor; (ii) participation in experiment run by the instructors; (ii) experiments developed and run by groups of students; and (iii) presentations of experimental results by the same groups. For the experiments, students are split into smaller groups. Each group will be assigned one of the topics of the course. The group must then develop an experiment on this topic and run the experiment, using the other students as participants. Having done so, the groups must analyze the data gathered in the experiment and present the results in class, after which a class discussion will follow.