What are economic experiments?

At CVS we carry out two different types of experiments: research-oriented and didactic. With regards to the research-oriented experiments, we commonly enlist the help of various participants (usually undergraduate students) from our database, asking them to take part in an experimental session in our laboratory. In every session, the participants sit in front of a computer, are given instructions regarding how they can earn money, and then proceed to make decisions. At the end of each session, the participants are financially rewarded (in the form of cash) according to the outcome of their decisions and those of the other participants. We then use the data gathered throughout the experiment to perform economic analyses and either compare them with previous theories or use them to arrive at new findings.

At the CVS we also carry out didactic experiments. These are different from the research-oriented experiments in that their aim is to complement traditional learning through experiences that enable the students to compare first-hand the results of behavior with related theory. At the end of every experimental session, we analyze the results of the experiment with the students who partook in it, in order for them to know what kind of experiment they were part of and assess whether the group behaved according to the expected theoretic principles.