This course is an introduction to experimental economics, its methods, and some of the recent applications. In particular, the course illustrates how experiments can be used to solve many of the identification problems present in non-experimental data. An integral part of the course is participation in numerous experiments to acquire hands on experience.

Each time I teach this course it is slightly different. Below are all the research topics that have been covered at some time or another. Experimental materials within each topic include z-Tree programs of some of the papers and STATA do files to quickly display the results.

A set of slides introducing z-Tree and several examples of z-Tree programs are also available.

Research Topics

Economics as an experimental science

  • Why experiments?
  • Advantages of the experimental method
  • Common criticisms
  • Brief introduction to neuroeconomics methodology

Slides introduction

Slides neuroeconomics

Decision-making under risk

  • How to elicit risk preferences?
  • Loss aversion
  • Explaining the endowment effect

Slides decision-making under risk

Experimental materials

Old slides with probability weighting

Intertemporal decision-making

  • The importance of being patient
  • How to elicit discount factors?
  • Time consistency, stationarity, and invariance
  • Self-commitment

Slides intertemporal decision-making

Beliefs and updating

  • Are people Bayesian?
  • Reinforcement learning and Bayesian updating
  • The winner's curse and updating

Slides beliefs and updating

Experimental materials

Social preferences and social norms

  • Outcome-based models of social preferences
  • Models of social norms
  • Models of intentions and reciprocity
  • Punishment and social norms
  • Ingroups and outgroups

Slides social preferences and social norms

Experimental materials

Old slides on altruistic punishment

Trust and trustworthiness

  • The importance of trust
  • Trust and betrayal aversion
  • Trustworthiness, reciprocity, and guilt aversion
  • Trustworthiness and reputation
  • Trust as honesty

Slides trust and trustworthiness

Experimental materials

Gender in labor markets

  • Gender differences in risk aversion
  • Gender differences in competitiveness
  • How to measure competitiveness?
  • Competitiveness in the field
  • Gender differences in bargaining
  • Gender discrimination in labor markets

Slides gender in labor markets

Experimental materials

Public goods and institution formation

  • Public good games and conditional cooperation
  • Institutions that promote cooperation
  • Taxes and subsidies, intergroup competition, communication, and peer punishment
  • Forming institutions that promote cooperation
  • Intergroup competition and peer punishment
  • The social dilemma trap and the democracy effect

Slides public goods and institution formation

Experimental materials

Markets and the strategic environment

  • Double-auction markets
  • Asset markets
  • Strategic environment: complements vs. substitutes

Slides markets and the strategic environment

Experimental materials

Strategic behavior with boundedly-rational players

  • Quantal response equilibrium
  • k-level thinking models

Slides strategic behavior with boundedly-rational players

Experimental materials

Antisocial behavior and conflict

  • Antisocial punishment
  • Conflict and rent-seeking
  • Punitive games

Old slides on antisocial behavior

Experimental materials


  • Retrospective voting and convergence to the median voter
  • Lobbying and divergence from the median voter
  • Costly voting and turnout
  • Expressive voting

Old slides on voting

Experimental materials

zTree Programing

Introduction to z-Tree

  • Basic programming in z-Tree
  • Simultaneous games
  • Sequential games
  • Auctions and markets

Slides zTree

Downloadable z-Tree programs

Here are a few examples of zTree treatments. In some cases I also include the instructions. Most of these treatments were programmed as simple examples so their functionality is limited. I hope they serve as examples for those who are looking for simple cases to get them started.