Experimental Economics - Topics

Course Objectives

The aims of this course are: (a) To enable you to assess the quality of experimental papers related to your field of interest; (b) To present important empirical findings in key areas of economic decision-making; (c) To introduce a methodology for doing research and make you think about what else could be done with it.

Summary of Course Content

After a methodological introduction, the course will cover a selected set of topics including invidivual versus team decision making, intertemporal choices, cross-cultural experiments and issues of how to promote cooperation in social dilemmas. In particular, we will focus on applications to cooperating to tackle climate change and promoting impersonal exchange. The topics presented are heavily influenced by my research interest and do not give a representative sampling of all what has been done in experimental economics.

Students are expected to contribute actively to class discussions.

General Reference Textbooks

There is no required textbook for the class. The following should be regarded as general references in experimental and behavioural economics:

  • Edward Cartwright (2014) Behavioral economics, Routledge
  • Dhami, Sanjit (2016) The foundations of behavioral economic analysis, Oxford University Press

The Grading Scheme

Homework assignments: 30%

Classroom participation:   10% Take-home written exam: 60%

Description of Examinations and Assignments which will be set, including how feedback will be given after exams

There will be a written final exam with several questions in the form of short essays. There will also be three or four assignments of different type: data analysis, referee reports about other papers.


Topic 1  Overview and methodological considerations

Article:Smith, Vernon, An Experimental Study of Competitive Market Behavior, Journal of Political Economy, 1962, 70, 32

Article:Palfrey, T. and R. Porter (1991) Guidelines for submission of manuscripts on experimental economics, Econometrica, 59, 4, 1197-98

Article: Colin F. Camerer et al. (2016) Evaluating replicability of laboratory experiments in economics, Science 25 Mar 2016, 351, Issue 6280, pp. 1433-1436, DOI: 10.1126/science.aaf0918

Article:Francesco Guala (2012) Experimentation in Economics, in Handbook of the Philosophy of Science, Vol. 13: Philosophy of Economics, edited by Uskali Mäki. Amsterdam: Elsevier, 597-640, http://users.unimi.it/guala/Handbook Elsevier3.pdf


Topic 2 Individual versus team decision making

Article:Gary Charness and Matthias Sutter (2012) Groups make better self- interested decisions. Journal of Economic Perspectives 26/3 (2012): 157-176

Article:M.Casari, J. Zhang and C. Jackson (2015) Same Process, Different Outcomes: Group Performance in an Acquiring a Company Experiment, Experimental Economics. 2015, doi:10.1007/s10683- 015-9467-7.

Article:How groups reach agreement in risky choices: an experiment, (J. Zhang and M. Casari), Economic Inquiry, 2012, 50, 2, 502-515.

Topic 3  Intertemporal decisions

Article:Glenn W. Harrison, Morten I. Lau, Melonie B. Williams (2002) Estimating Individual Discount Rates in Denmark: A Field Experiment, American Economic Review vol. 92, no. 5, 1606-1617

Article: Casari, Marco (2009) Precommitment and flexibility in a time decision experiment, Journal of Risk and Uncertainty 2009, 38, 2, 117-141

Article:Casari, Marco and D. Dragone (2011) On negative time preferences, Economics Letters 2011, 111, 1, 37-39

Article: Choice reversal without temptation: A dynamic experiment on time preferences, (M.Casari and D.Dragone) Journal of Risk and Uncertainty. 2015, 50, 119-140.

Article: Cubitt, R., & Read, D. (2007). Can intertemporal choice experiments elicit time preferences for consumption? Experimental Economics, 10, 369-389.


Topic 4 Cross-cultural experiments

Article: M. Bigoni, S. Bortolotti, M. Casari, D. Gambetta, F. Pancotto (2016), Amoral Familism, Social Capital, or Trust? The Behavioral Foundations of the Italian North-South Divide, Economic Journal. 2016, 126, 594, 1318–1341

Article:  M. Bigoni, S.Bortolotti, M.Casari, D.Gambetta (2018), At the root of the North-South cooperation gap in Italy: Preferences or beliefs?, Economic Journal

Article:Armin Falk, Anke Becker, Thomas Dohmen, Benjamin Enke, David Huffmann, Uwe Sunde. Global Evidence on Economic Preferences. NBER Working Paper No. 23943, October 2017 (forthcoming in Quarterly Journal of Economics).

Article:Bohnet, Iris, Fiona Greig, Benedikt Herrmann, et al. (2008) Betrayal Aversion: Evidence from Brazil, China, Oman, Switzerland, Turkey, and the United States, American Economic Review, 98,1, p. 294-


Topic 5 Cooperation A: Climate change

Article:Milinski, M., R. D. Sommerfeld, H.-J. Krambeck, F. A. Reed, and J. Marotzke (2008). The collective-risk social dilemma and the prevention of simulated dangerous climate change. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the U.S.A. 105 (7), 2291-2294

Article:Calzolari, Giacomo and Casari, Marco and Ghidoni, Riccardo (2018) Carbon is Forever: A Climate Change Experiment on Cooperation, Journal of Environmental Economics and Management.

Article: Katerina Sherstyuk, Nori Tarui, Majah-Leah V. Ravago, and Tatsuyoshi Saijo, "Intergenerational Games with Dynamic Externalities and Climate Change Experiments," Journal of the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists 3, no. 2 (June 2016): 247-281


Topic 6 Cooperation B: Monetary systems and impersonal exchange

Book Chapter:Maria Bigoni Gabriele Camera, Marco Casari (2018) Cooperation among strangers with and without a monetary system, Handbook of Experimental Game Theory edited by M.Capra, R. Croson, T. Rosenblatt, and M. Rigdon (Edward Elgar publisher), Forthcoming

Article: G. Camera, M. Casari and M. Bigoni (2013) Money and Trust among Strangers, Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, 110, 37, 14889-14893

Article: M. Bigoni, G.Camera, M.Casari (2014) Money is more than memory, https://ideas.repec.org/p/bol/bodewp/wp1030.html