Experimental Methods in Economics

The details
Colchester Campus
Undergraduate: Level 6
Thursday 08 October 2020
Friday 18 December 2020
20 September 2019


Requisites for this module



Key module for

BSC C814 Psychology with Economics,
BSC C815 Psychology with Economics (Including Year Abroad),
BSC C816 Psychology with Economics (Including Placement Year),
BA C841 Economics with Psychology,
BA C851 Economics with Psychology (Including Year Abroad),
BA C861 Economics with Psychology (Including Placement Year),
BSC C148 Economics with Psychology,
BSC C158 Economics with Psychology (Including Year Abroad),
BSC C168 Economics with Psychology (Including Placement Year)

Module description

Experimental economics has become a very popular method to address questions that are hard to answer with field data. Laboratory experiments are used to investigate individual choice behaviour such as giving for charities, or behaviour in strategic interactions such as financial markets and collective decision making. The experiments are also used to analyse firm behaviour and assess policies such as anti-trust legislation or even monetary policy.
In this module, we will critically evaluate whether these experimental methods provide answers for policy makers and private sector decision makers. In particular, we will read and discuss studies asking questions like:

Module aims

-Whether and in which contexts lab experiments are externally valid, i.e., whether the conclusions reached in the lab apply also in 'the real world',
-Whether experimenter demand effects---i.e., the goals and views of the researcher---can bias results,
-Whether the knowledge of being under investigation alters the behaviour of subjects (the "Hawthorne effect"),
-To what degree framing instructions in the experiment can alter the results,
-How experimental economics differs from the more traditional field of experimental psychology.

Module learning outcomes

After completing this course, students will be able to judge whether an experimental study is useful in solving a real world problem (such as which policy to choose) and will be able to identify the shortcomings in the method. Moreover, students will improve their presentation skills and their abilities to engage in a critical discussion.

Module information

Most of the module will be held as a seminar. The module begins with a general lecture introduction to the topic in the first two weeks by the lecturer, followed by a lab session where students participate in an economic experiment as subjects. After week three, we will meet every week to discuss one or two studies about the lab-experimental method. One or two students will present a summary of a paper, which will then be discussed in the group. The lecturer leads the discussion and moderates.

Learning and teaching methods

Lectures: 6 hours Seminars: 14 hours Lectures and Seminars may use the Essex Lab as a tool. Students can find the information on the online module description once the module is approved.


This module does not appear to have a published bibliography.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Weighting
Coursework   Presentation    30% 
Coursework   Essay    60% 
Practical   Class Participation    10% 

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
100% 0%


Coursework Exam
100% 0%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Dr Christoph Siemroth, email:
Lectures: Dr Christoph Siemroth



External examiner

No external examiner information available for this module.
Available via Moodle
Of 20 hours, 18 (90%) hours available to students:
2 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
0 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s).


Further information

* Please note: due to differing publication schedules, items marked with an asterisk (*) base their information upon the previous academic year.

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