Talk:Experimental economics

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Behavioural biases in auctions[edit]

Other experiments went further into the auction experiments with which Smith had begun the discipline. He showed that a naive crowd tends to pay more for any item when it sold via an (increasing price) English auction, rather than a (declining price) Dutch auction.
One explanation of this bias is that a declining price generates a sense of "suspense", whereas an increasing price tends to give the ultimate victor in a bidding war an extra sense of satisfaction. Therefore, the social pressure not to lose may add an extra utility to winning beyond that of the item purchased. Another explanation is the idea in a common value auction that seeing other people bid for the same thing increases its probable value. (See: Classroom experiment example of Dutch auction under-valuation.)
Yet another explanation is that the optimal bidding rule is more transparent in an English Auction than in a Dutch Auction. In an English Auction (for a single unit of a good) the optimal bidding strategy is to continue raising one's bid until doing so would result in a price that exceeded one's value for the unit. (Given infinitely small bidding increments this results in a unit price equal to the second highest value among the bidders.) In a Dutch Auction the optimal bidding strategy is to allow the bid price to fall to a precise fraction of one's value. The fraction is (N-1)/N, where N is the number of bidders in the auction. Naive bidders (and even many experienced bidders) are unlikely to know this bidding strategy, and may therefore allow the price to fall "too low" before purchasing.

I'm not sure this belongs here. I might be alright with restoring it, or moving it to Dutch auction, minus the "naive" comments. But the argument doesn't seem quite right. Suppose you and I are bidding on something we both value at $100. Therefore, according to the above (N=2), you wait for $50. But I accept at $75. How was your strategy optimal? Certainly it's not an equilibrium strategy. 17:54, 29 June 2006 (UTC)

I think (N-1)/N applies when valuations are independently and identically distributed across bidders and are draws from a uniform distribution from 0 to some upper value.

I believe that the "social preferences" section should include a note about prospect theory as a certain degree of the experimental findings in this field are regarding welfare changes in respect to others Canking (talk) 17:55, 27 January 2008 (UTC)

Article desperately needs explanation/links for "Pareto"[edit]

I have heard of the Pareto Principle (80/20 rule), but the other things in this article which have Pareto's name attached to them are obviously meant to refer to much more specific ideas and procedures. What do they mean? --Jonrock (talk) 18:39, 1 April 2008 (UTC)

Linked to Pareto efficiency Cretog8 (talk) 04:22, 23 May 2008 (UTC)

Strange Wilson video[edit]

Up at the top, as a reference to "which emerged in the 1990's" (very arguable, but beside the point at the moment), there's a link to the video [1]. While I've only watched about a minute of the video, it seems to be a philosophy / enlightenment / theology talk. If it leads to a point on experimental economics, I still think it's too tangential to be right up top.Cretog8 (talk) 22:57, 15 April 2008 (UTC)

removed it Cretog8 (talk) 04:04, 23 May 2008 (UTC)

Emerged in 1990's?[edit]

Experimental economics long predates the 90's, although I suppose that's when it exploded. Need to figure out a better way to handle this, perhaps a brief history. Cretog8 (talk) 04:06, 23 May 2008 (UTC)

Experimental topics[edit]

This section looks too deep and narrow. Trying to cram in a lot of the content of learning experiments, for example, when that's just one area. Not sure how it should be organized, but should probably aim for broader and shallower? Cretog8 (talk) 04:19, 23 May 2008 (UTC)

Debates within field[edit]

  • Deception: Some argument about whether deception is really all that bad. In any case, the problem with deception is not so much a matter of the experiment in which it is used. It's more a matter of "polluting the well"; subjects who have been deceived in one experiment are likely to be subjects in future experiments and distrust the instructions, which kills salience.
  • Neutral context: The standard has become providing context-free instructions (referring to a product as "A", rather than as "fish", for instance). It's been argued that providing a context can be beneficial, that the salience lost to framing effects is often much smaller than that gained by better understanding.
  • Field experiments: This needs a section of its own. In any case, argument about how much applicability of results gets lost when moved into lab.

Cretog8 (talk) 13:10, 23 May 2008 (UTC)

Link to Neuroeconomics[edit]

Neuroeconomics is its own discipline, but tied tightly to experimental economics. Cretog8 (talk) 13:53, 23 May 2008 (UTC)

high importance[edit]

I just re-ranked this from Low to High importance. I may be biased, because this is my field. Within the profession, experimental economics has come into its own as a respected field, and so any economist should be familiar with it. For layfolk, many of the details aren't important, but knowing that economics has an experimental component is worthwhile. Plus, (for good or ill) this field generates a lot of news with results that the media finds nifty, so lots of people are going to have heard about it (although maybe not the phrase "experimental economics") and should be able to come find out more.

As I say, I may be biased, so I put this comment here to attract the attention of any who disagree. CRETOG8(t/c) 04:19, 19 August 2008 (UTC)


I don't think the software section belongs in this article. The article isn't primarily for people who want to start practicing experimental economics soon, so the reader won't generally need that. Besides, it's messy and seems to invite spam.

I intend to cut it out. If others think it's important enough to be on WP, then it should be its own article. CRETOG8(t/c) 23:54, 4 October 2008 (UTC)

Faulty assumptions[edit]

Experimental economics takes as given--as 'natural'--a particular understanding of individual behavior that should instead be regarded as constructed, or at least, historically contingent. Why should one believe in (take as given) the behavioral assumptions attributed to human individuals by experimental economics instead of regarding them as constructed and/or amplified or reinforced by the particular historically contingent contexts and institutions within which the individual is located? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:18, 7 June 2009 (UTC)


An ill-advised edit to the WikiProject Economics template invited the creation of a separate “Comments” page with its own Talk page. That page is almost surely going to be deleted. Below is a comment from that separate Talk page. —SlamDiego←T 14:09, 7 June 2009 (UTC)

This page needs to engage with critiques of the ontological and epistemological presuppositions of experimental economics. For example, experimental economics takes as given--as 'natural'--a particular understanding of individual behavior that should instead be regarded as constructed, or at least, historically contingent. Why should one believe in (take as given) the behavioral assumptions attributed to human individuals by experimental economics instead of regarding them as constructed and/or amplified or reinforced by the particular historically contingent contexts and institutions within which the individual is located? Using experimentation to verify presupposition doesn't prove that the essence of individual economic agents coheres to the presuppositions held by the experimenter. There is an element of circularity here. The institutional context within which individual economic agents exist shapes individual behavior. This behavior cannot be assumed to represent the essence of individuals (homo economicus) without rigorous comparison across varying (historical and cultural) institutional contexts across space and time. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)

This might be right, except for the jargon --Pgreenfinch (talk) 17:46, 7 June 2009 (UTC)
As I've noted elsewhere, Wikipedia is simply not a place for the active reform of economics. —SlamDiego←T 15:49, 8 June 2009 (UTC)

Teaching materials[edit]

Some UK academics are sharing open courseware for experimental economics at [2], [3] and [4] . I'm personally involved with the project so it would be a WP:COI for me to use them in this article. However, I recommend the files to this article's editors, to consider as external links or even as sources. The syllabi (last link) may be a helpful guide to the structure of this article. MartinPoulter (talk) 11:12, 27 August 2010 (UTC)

...Derived from co-operation; it is well established on the self-interest makings. My thought and further experiment towards the experience in a nations culture will involve the making of "the-to-know process, where individuals can evaluate the expenditures of an economy from a telivsed experience. Again I'm showing a never ever thought perhaps, pertaining to the future, in balance. Till next time. I will eventially refine this statement from self evaluation. My current last posting was at incentive; my incentive was dealing with a tax incentive.David George DeLancey (talk) 14:47, 11 April 2011 (UTC)

Why that pic at the top-right?[edit]

It is an interesting page; however, I have found ata least two weaknesses: -it is too short (it is like to try to some up the divine comedy in one page -why there is that pic at the top right? It is about GDP (PPP) of different countries — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:58, 6 June 2012 (UTC)