Economics Department

Research

Experimental Economics

 

Computer Programs for Classroom Games:

In the last decade, I have written about 60 interactive web-based programs that are available for general use, especially for teaching. Participants will have to be using computers with browsers that are connected to the internet, so these are best in a classroom/laboratory setting.  To use these programs, you will need a "session name" that can be obtained on line from the Experiment Selection Admin Menu link below (go there and click on Get Started, and then on Register, which takes about a minute)::

http://veconlab.econ.virginia.edu/admin.htm

You use this Experiment Selection Menu to set up an experiment, and after you have done that, the subjects/students will log in from the Participant Login Page:

http://veconlab.econ.virginia.edu/login.htm

The students log in through any browser on any device with internet access.  Students log in using the session name that you provide, which connects them to the database table for the experiment that you set up in advance via the admin web pages. 

The admin menu has links to htm files that describe each experiment and how to base a class discussion on the results   The admin  pages also inlude displays of the results with some theoretical and data analysis done automatically. User instructions are dynamically adapted to conform to the setup parameters (group size, numbes of periods, nature of matchings, trading rules, etc.)  The programs include auctions, games, markets, inidvidual decision problems, asymmetric information games, bargaining, and public goods games.  

New in Fall 2012: the "Bank Run Game,", which can generate a cascade of bank failures. To heighten class interest, you can even name the banks after countries like Greece, Spain, Germany, etc. Have fun!! 

The programs are written in PHP and run on an Apache web server tied to a MySql database. A National Scinece Foundation Infrastructure grant has made it possible to place these programs on a fast and secure Linux server.  Before using a program for the first time, especially with a large class, I recommend that you test it.   To do this, open up the admin program in one browser window, setting it up for two participants, and then open up two more browser windows (on the same computer if necessary) and log in as a participant from each of the windows.  It only takes minutes to learn how to set up and run these programs. Please send comments and suggestions to me (holt@virginia.edu).