Experimental Methods in Economics

The details
Colchester Campus
Undergraduate: Level 6
Thursday 05 October 2023
Friday 15 December 2023
07 November 2023


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),
BSC C817 Psychology with Economics (Including Foundation 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 C149 Economics with Psychology (Including Foundation Year),
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.

Module aims

The aims of this module are:

  • To read and discuss studies asking questions like:

    • 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

By the end of this module, students will be expected to be able to:

  1. 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.

  2. 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

The module will be delivered via:

  • Lectures: 6 hours
  • Seminars: 14 hours

Lectures and Seminars may use the Essex Lab as a tool.


This module does not appear to have any essential texts. To see non - essential items, please refer to the module's reading list.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Coursework weighting
Coursework   Presentation    35% 
Coursework   Class Participation    5% 
Coursework   Assignment    60% 

Exam format definitions

  • Remote, open book: Your exam will take place remotely via an online learning platform. You may refer to any physical or electronic materials during the exam.
  • In-person, open book: Your exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer to any physical materials such as paper study notes or a textbook during the exam. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, open book (restricted): The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer only to specific physical materials such as a named textbook during the exam. Permitted materials will be specified by your department. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, closed book: The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may not refer to any physical materials or electronic devices during the exam. There may be times when a paper dictionary, for example, may be permitted in an otherwise closed book exam. Any exceptions will be specified by your department.

Your department will provide further guidance before your exams.

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
100% 0%


Coursework Exam
100% 0%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Dr Daniel Friedman, email:
Dr Nikhil Masters, email:
Lectures: Dr Daniel Friedman & Dr Nikhil Masters
For further information please send an e-mail message to



External examiner

Mr Georgios Papadopoulos
Dr Georgios Chrysanthou
University of Dundee
Lecturer in Economics (Teaching and Research)
Available via Moodle
Of 20 hours, 20 (100%) hours available to students:
0 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
0 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s), module, or event type.


Further information

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