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ES50121: Experimental economics

[Page last updated: 15 October 2020]

Follow this link for further information on academic years Academic Year: 2020/1
Further information on owning departmentsOwning Department/School: Department of Economics
Further information on credits Credits: 6      [equivalent to 12 CATS credits]
Further information on notional study hours Notional Study Hours: 120
Further information on unit levels Level: Masters UG & PG (FHEQ level 7)
Further information on teaching periods Period:
Semester 2
Further information on unit assessment Assessment Summary: CW 80%, PR 20%
Further information on unit assessment Assessment Detail:
  • Coursework 1 (CW 30%)
  • Coursework 2 (CW 30%)
  • Practical (PR 20%)
  • Coursework 3 (CW 20%)
Further information on supplementary assessment Supplementary Assessment:
Like-for-like reassessment (where allowed by programme regulations)
Further information on requisites Requisites:
Description: Aims:

* To introduce the exciting field of game theory and experimental economics:
In recent years the importance of economic experiments has been increasing. Why do we run experiments? There are mainly three reasons: (i) Economists aim to test their theories, as physicians do; (ii) Experiments can be used to discover new economic hypotheses; (iii) They can also illuminate or support policymaking (e.g. David Cameron's 'nudge unit', Google's ad auction model).
Experimental economics is a discipline of increasing importance (Nobel prizes).
* To provide hands-on experience of experimental economics: Typically students will participate in a computerised experiment for each topic. After the experiment, a lecture will explain the related theory and discuss the interpretation of the experimental outcomes. The course should provide enjoyable, interactive and concrete learning experience.

Learning Outcomes:
On completing this unit, students should be able to:
* Follow the analysis of interactive decision making and construct their own mathematical arguments;
* Understand the role of economic theory in analysing "real world" problems;
* Write answers to the short theoretic questions;
* Discuss the outcome of the experiments in comparison with the theory prediction;
* Explore better alternative explanations or think critically about the theory when the theory prediction does not fully match the experimental outcome.

Problem solving, abstract thinking and logical and rigorous arguments.

Part 1: Introduction to Experimental Economics
* Thinking strategically: p-beauty contest game
Part 2: Buying, selling and different types of market
* Market interaction: market experiment
* Cooperation: Bertrand competition experiment
* Auctions: private value auction experiment
Part 3: Asymmetric information
* Adverse selection: the market of lemon experiment
* Information cascades: cascade experiment
* Bargaining and principal agent relations: ultimatum game
Part 4: Different types of game
* Collective action problems: public goods game
* Zero-sum games and mixed strategies
* Coordination games: currency attacks, focal point experiments.
Further information on programme availabilityProgramme availability:

ES50121 is Optional on the following programmes:

Department of Economics


  • This unit catalogue is applicable for the 2020/21 academic year only. Students continuing their studies into 2021/22 and beyond should not assume that this unit will be available in future years in the format displayed here for 2020/21.
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