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Course description

Competencies and objectives


Course context for academic year 2019-20

The proposed course is an introduction to the theory and practice of experimental economics, with a special focus on the behavioral analysis of

1. individual (and interactive) decision making under risk and ambiguity;
2. risk, time and social preferences;
3. behavioral finance.

Since the ultimate goal is to design and run economic experiments, we shall complement the review of the existing experimental literature on these themes with a survey on methodological and design issues, together with a review of some popular statistical tools used to analyze behavioral data.



Course content (verified by ANECA in official undergraduate and Master’s degrees)

General Competences (CG)

  • CG1 : Capacity to carry out research work.
  • CG2 : Capacity to find data (natural and experimental) and analyse it.
  • CG3 : Capacity to apply economic theory to represent real situations.
  • CG4 : Capacity for teamwork.
  • CG5 : Capacity for self-learning.
  • CG6 : Ethical commitment and social responsibility at work, respecting the environment, being aware and understanding the importance of respect for fundamental rights, equal opportunities for men and women, universal accessibility for the disabled and respect for the values of a peaceful, democratic society.
  • CG7 : Analyse problems using critical reasoning, without prejudice and with precision and rigor.
  • CG8 : Capacity for synthesis.


Specific Competences (CE)

  • CE1 : Capacity to read Economic research articles in a reasoned fashion and evaluate them critically, understand their essential contributions and weaknesses.
  • CE2 : Capacity to understand how the technical problems faced by authors of research articles have been resolved in each case.
  • CE3 : Capacity to test theorems and propositions.
  • CE4 : Capacity to understand and reproduce empirical analyses and simulation experiments on which the conclusions of research articles written by other authors are based.
  • CE5 : Capacity to present important economic problems precisely and respond adequately to said problems by using the techniques learnt on the different courses, using theoretical and empirical analyses or simulations if necessary.
  • CE6 : Ability to write a research report or article describing the problem dealt with, analysing previous literature on the subject, clearly presenting the solution obtained for the problem and synthesising the conclusions of the work.




Learning outcomes (Training objectives)

No data



Specific objectives stated by the academic staff for academic year 2019-20

Experimental Economics offers an alternative data collection method to standard empirical methods in Economics that is directly designed to study specific research questions. In the practice of Experimental Economics the data collection process is under full control by the researcher, who can fine-tune the characteristics of the economic environment under scrutiny (incentives, dissemination of information, context and framing, etc…) to his or her own purposes. The methods of Experimental Economics rely on carefully controlled designs, in ways similar to Experimental Psychology or Experimental Physics. However, the ability to control for unwanted influences and unobserved phenomena is much weaker in the social than in the natural sciences, and in this course we will discuss the limits of our ability to construct an ideal social science experiment.
Students will be introduced to discussions about both the power and the limitations of Experimental Economics as a data collection method, and to discoveries that have spurred a deeper interest in individual and collective behavior. Students will practice the methods taught by reviewing published papers and designing their own experiment.
At the end of the course the students should be able to answer the following questions:

What are the most important benefits and limitations of the experimental methodology?
What are some of the most important discoveries made using economics experiments?
What are the elements of a good experimental design?
How should a good design be influenced by theory and econometric methods?





Code: 41216
Lecturer responsible:
Credits ECTS: 5,00
Theoretical credits: 1,20
Practical credits: 0,40
Distance-base hours: 3,40

Departments involved

    Theoretical credits: 1,2
    Practical credits: 0,4
    This Dept. is responsible for the course.
    This Dept. is responsible for the final mark record.

Study programmes where this course is taught