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Experimental Economics – Methods

Course description
The main goal of this course is to provide a comprehensive overview of the experimental methodology. At the end of the course, students should have acquired the set of basic tools which are necessary to understand the existing experimental literature, and to assess the strengths and weaknesses of an experimental paper.
This course is open to graduate students enrolled in either EDLE or Ph.D in Economics and it targets students that are interested in the experimental literature, either because they plan to run experiments as a part of their research project, or because they would like to be able to read with a critical view the experimental literature available in their area of specialization.
Participation to the course does not require any prior knowledge of the field, but a basic background in statistics and econometrics would help.


  1. Laboratory experimentation in economics: what and why?
  2. Running an Experimental Session – practice and some theory
  3. Design of Experiments
  4. Econometric analysis: thinking ahead
  5. Incentives
  6. Lab and field experiments, and the choice of the subject pool
  7. Instructions and framing
  8. Finitely/indefinitely repeated games
  9. Anonymity and observability, and the “demand effect”
  10. Survey vs. experimental evidence; internet experiments

Participation to the course does not require any prior knowledge of the field, but a basic background in statistics and econometrics would help.

Teaching methods
Presentation and discussion of selected papers. Particular attention will be devoted to specific methodological aspects of the papers; in each class we will discuss pros and cons of different methodological alternatives to address a specific issue. All students are expected to carefully read all required papers.

Assessment methods

  • In-class participation: 20% of the final mark.
  • Individual or group presentation: 30% of the final mark. From lecture 4 on, students (alone or in couples, depending on enrollment) will have to present and discuss one of the papers listed below (papers to be discussed are marked with **). The presentation should last 30 minutes.
  • In-class final examination: 50% of the final mark. Finalexamination will be held a few weeks after the end of the course. In the exam, students will be given a series of researchquestionsand will have to propose an experimental design meant to provide an answer to the proposed questions. Students must show they master the methodological tools discussed in the course and motivate their design based on the literature discussed in class.

Course Website
All materials will be published in the dedicated course webpage available here

A detailed list of the reading material is available here