Preface

Welcome to Experiencing Economics. Our purpose is to generate a personal connection between economic theory and students’ individual experiences. We have found that conducting economic experiments is an effective way of getting students to use economics to think about the world around them. Students have no problem grasping the rules for the experiments and love getting involved in economic situations, and then figuring out what happened. Better still, is that they do not always play as rationally as they might, providing the opportunity to learn from their own and others’ mistakes.

Experiments provide students with direct experience of strategic interdependence of social interactions through very simple games that capture essential elements of economic theory. They help students to be curious and to engage in what they are learning. Besides being a powerful teaching tool, experiments make the learning process an enjoyable and memorable life experience.

This book provides a complete set of materials (together with the preprogrammed experiments) for the enriching practice of running experiments during teaching. The experiments can be used to complement The Economy and Economy, Society, and Public Policy, and are linked to specific units in those books. However, each experiment is self-contained and can be used alongside other textbooks. Instructors can also adapt any of the experiments to suit their particular interests, for example to illustrate different concepts or motivate different debates. These materials are designed to minimize the required work an instructor has to do to implement live games in their teaching. Therefore, Experiencing Economics is an easily adaptable strategy to innovatively enrich economics related learning environments.

The experiments in this book are run using classEx, an online interactive tool which allows instructors to run experiments in the classroom or during synchro­nous online teaching. Instructors can register for free and students can participate in the experiments using a standard browser on their smartphone, tablet, or laptop. As we consider Experiencing Economics to be an open platform, later editions of the book will also include pen and paper experiments as well as experiments run in other platforms, like VeconLab or MobLab.

In conclusion, Experiencing Economics aims to help instructors to use experiments in their teaching. Taking part in these experiments will give students a deeper understanding of the models and an engaging learning environment which will build solid foundations for more advanced courses. We hope this material will serve as a window to the wide universe of external resources, platforms, and ideas developed by the international community of experiments for teaching. We strongly encourage you to keep looking for new class projects that will change the way students approach economic theory.

The CORE Team
December 2020