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University of Rhode Island — Environmental & Natural Resource Economics
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EEC 570 Experimental Economics
Course Information

Professor: Staff
Semester: Fall
Credits: 3
Prerequisites: EEC 528 or permission of instructor

Catalog Description: Controlled laboratory experiments to study economic theories, institutions, and policies. Provides an overview of experiment design and nonparametric data analysis. Applications include game theory, markets, public goods, and uncertainty.

Course Goals & Outcomes

Experiments are coming into increasing use as a tool for understanding environmental and natural resource use problems, and for evaluating and refining policies to address them. The primary objective of this course is to introduce you to the methodology of experimental economics, eventually enabling you to design and run your own experiments. You will develop familiarity with experimental approaches to a range of environmental problems, and a general sense of when and how results support economic assumptions, and when and why they do not. In doing so, you will develop skills in reading and critiquing articles, professional presentation, and project development. You will also be introduced through experiments to areas of research, such as game theory and mechanism design, not covered elsewhere in our curriculum.

By the end of the semester students will be able to:

  • Become familiar with experimental economics
  • Critique journal articles and current research in the environmental economics literature
  • Articulate testable hypotheses based on economic theory
  • Professionally present and develop projects related to environmental resource use
Course Syllabus

Class topics:

  • Voluntary Contribution to Public Goods & Contingent Valuation
    • Voluntary contribution problems
    • Willingness to Accept and Willingness To Pay
    • Eliciting Preferences in the Lab
  • Common Pool Resources
    • Common Pool Resources
    • Dynamic Resource Problems (individual)
    • Regulated Common Pool Resources
  • Market-based Regulation
    • Experimental Markets
    • Pollution Permit Markets
    • Water and Conservation Markets
    • Tradable Fishing Allowance Markets
  • Auctions
    • Auction Experiments
    • Applications of Auctions
About The Professor

This course is taught by multiple instructors, please refer to URI Course Schedule.

Reasons To Take This Course

Experimental economics, while a relatively new field, is rapidly gaining traction and recognition among resource economists. This course will enable you to use experimental methods to approach various environmental issues and problems.

Cool Links
  • Economic Science Association (ESA) This is a great source of information for all those interested in studying economic behavior through the lens of controlled experiments. The ESA is also the publisher of the Experimental Economics Journal, sponsor of conferences, and host of online discussion groups on this topic.
  • The Vernon Smith Experimental Economics Laboratory This Website can provide you with interesting information on experimental research papers in a variety of economics and management areas and other cool links on experimental economics topics.