Experimental Economics, Tools

Course description

The main goal of this course is to provide a general overview of the tools available to conduct experimental research in behavioral and experimental economics. In the first part of the course (Lectures 1-3) we will learn the basics of z-Tree and provide a description of available tools to recruit participants and run experiments such as ORSEE, OTree, SoPHIE, Qualtrics, Amazon Mechanical Turck, etc. In the second part of the course (Lecture 3-5) we will focus on Experimetrics, i.e. Econometrics applied to Experiments.


  • Part 1: Tools to conduct Economic Experiments
    • Tools to Recruit Participants: ORSEE, Prolific.ac;
    • Tools to Conduct Experiments 1: zTree
    • Tools to Conduct Experiments 2: SoPHIE , OTREE, Amazon Mechanical Turck, Qualtrics, Planout
    • Classroom Experiments (Comlabgames)
    • Part 2: Experimetrics: Econometric analysis for experimental economics
      • Statistical aspects of Experimental Design (Randomization Techniques, Power analysis, etc).
      • Treatment testing
      • Theory testing, regression, and dependence
      • Dealing with discreteness in Experimental Data
      • Ordinal Data in experimetrics

No specific knowledge of programming and computer science is required. A background in experimental economics and statistics is recommended in order to fully understand the purpose of programming, the overview of econometric methods and the practical examples presented during the course. Before starting the course, participants need to get a license for using z-Tree, and to download and install the software on their computer. The program is licensed free of charge. To get a license, please, follow this link. Once you obtain your license, you will be able to download z-Tree from this webpage: http://www.ztree.uzh.ch/downloads.html

Learning outcomes
At the end of the course, students should have:

i) acquired knowledge of the set of basic tools which are necessary to conduct research in behavioral and experimental economics and to assess the strengths and weaknesses of each experimental tool;

ii) acquired the ability to identify the econometric analysis suited for their experiment and be able to design their experiment together having in mind the needed econometrics.


Assessment methods
An applied problem set will be assigned to groups of 2-3 students. After having prepared their assignment at home, student will have to discuss it with the instructor.



  • Bardsley, N., & Moffatt, P. G. (2007). The experimetrics of public goods: Inferring motivations from contributions. Theory and Decision62(2), 161-193.
  • Moffatt, P. G. (2015). Experimetrics: Econometrics for experimental economics. Palgrave Macmillan, chapters 1-7.
  • Moffatt, P. G. (2007). Optimal Experimental Design in Models of Decision and Choice. MEASUREMENT IN ECONOMICS, 357


Additional references to relevant papers software will be provided during the course.


Teaching methods
Presentation and discussion of selected papers using the different tools presented. Particular attention will be devoted to specific methodological aspects related to the use of the different tools. All students are expected to carefully read all required papers and participate to the discussions.

 Assessment methods

In-class participation: 50% of the final mark.

Individual presentation: 50% of the final mark. In lecture 5 and 6, students (alone or in couples) will have to present and discuss one of the papers identified with the instructor of the course. The presentation should last 30 minutes.