The relationship between economic experiments and education dates back to the origins of the discipline. As a matter of fact, Vernon L. Smith first interacted with experimental methodology as an undergraduate student at Harvard in 1952 while participating in a didactic experiment carried out in a course taught by Edward Chamberlin. Years later, as a professor at Purdue University, Vernon Smith performed his first experiments, using his students as subjects.
Economic experiments enable students to have an active and experiential learning process. For example, the concepts of supply and demand can be rather abstract and monotonous for students. However, participating in an experimental market allows students to engage in the learning process and fully understand how markets work and the aforementioned concepts of supply and demand.
As a result, at CVS we use economic experiments as a didactic tool. Participating in an experiment enables students to easily grasp the concepts taught inside the classroom and to discern how the rules and institutions of markets affect the behavior of rational individuals. We have also designed a series of experiments for professors to utilize as an educational tool during their lectures.
As a result of our goal to bring education and the economic sciences even closer together, we at CVS developed a program called FRUIT (FRee Utilities for Interactive Teaching). FRUIT is an assortment of applications that facilitate the implementation of economic experiments as educational tools.