We are using two textbooks for
the course. Our main textbook is Experiments
with Economic Principles (Second Edition). It was
written by Professor
Bergstrom of UCSB and Professor John Miller of Carnegie Mellon
It is the first introductory economics textbook designed to
principles of economics by means of experiments. I believe that this
of teaching is superior to the standard lecture method. I hope
you will agree. The other textbook is Introduction to
Economic Analysis by R. Preston Mcafee. Professor
McAfee's book is an open access text, available for free online
You will be reading
extensively from both books.
Taking this course in economics-by-experiment is a bit like being dinner guest at a cannibal's house. You may be a diner, you may be the dinner, or you may be both.
If you take a laboratory course in the physical sciences, you get to mix smelly chemicals, or monkey with pulleys, or dissect a frog, but you are always the experimenter and never the subject of the experiment. In the market experiments conducted in this class, you and your classmates will be the participants in the markets as well as the scientific observers who try to understand the results.
It is hard to imagine that a
can put herself in the place of a hydrogen molecule. A biologist
who studies animal behavior is not likely to know what it feels like to
be a duck. You are more fortunate. You are studying the behavior and
of people in economically interesting situations. And as one of these
economic agents, you will be able to experience the problems faced by
an agent first hand. We suspect that you will learn nearly as much
economic principles from your experience as a participant as you will
your analysis as an observer.