lectures and discussions

Week 1:

  • Monday: Introduction
  • Wednesday: Yan Chen and Sherry Li "Group Identity and Social Preferences," AER. Presented by:  Emily Robertson

Week 2:

  • Monday: Introduction (Continued)
  • Wednesday: Sean Crockett, Ryan Oprea and Charles Plott. "Extreme Walrasian Dynamics: The Gale Example in the Lab," AER. Presented by: Charlie Nusbaum

Week 3:

Week 4:

  • Monday: Design 1: Inducing Preferences and Beliefs (Continued)
  • Wednesday: Terri Kneeland, "Identifying higher-order rationality," Econometrica. Presented by: Hakan Ozyilmaz

Week 5:

  • Monday: Design 2: Designing With Inference In Mind
  • Wednesday: Pedro Dal Bo and Guillaume Frechette. "The Evolution of Cooperation in Infinitely Repeated Games: Experimental Evidence," AER. Presented by: Jeffrey Cross

Week 6:

  • Monday: Design 2: Designing With Inference In Mind (Continued)
  • Wednesday: "When Does Learning in Games Generate Convergence to Nash Equilibria? The Role of Supermodularity in an Experimental Setting." Yan Chen and Robert Gazzale, 2006, AER. Presented by: Hakan Ozyilmaz

Week 7:

  • Monday: Design 3: Implementing an Experiment
  • Wednesday: Syngjoo Choi, Shachar Kariv, Wieland Muller, Daniel Silverman "Who is (More) Rational," American Economic Review.Presented by: Emily Robertson

Week 8:

  • Monday: Design 3: Implementing an Experiment (Continued)
  • Wednesday: Elena Asparouhova, Peter Bossaerts, Jon Eguia, William Zame. "Asset Pricing and Asymmetric Reasoning," forthcoming at Journal of Political Economy. Presented by: Charlie Nusbaum

Week 9:

  • Monday: Analyzing Experimental Data
  • Wednesday:  No class
Week 10:
  • Monday: Analyzing Experimental Data (Continued)
  • Wednesday: Ned Augenblick, Muriel Niederle and Charles Sprenger. "Working Over Time: Dynamic Inconsistency in Real Effort Tasks," conditionally accepted, Quarterly Journal of Economics. Presented by: 
supplementary reading
  • Handbook of Experimental Economics Results (2008), edited by Charles Plott and Vernon Smith.
  • Behavioral Game Theory (2003), by Colin Camerer.
  • The Handbook of Experimental Economics (1997), by Alvin Roth and John Kagel.
  • Experimental Economics (1992), by Douglas Davis and Charles Holt.
dates and deadlines
  • September 30: Send me a list of the 6 papers you would most like to discuss / write referee reports for in order of preference.
  • Day-of-Reading: Referee reports for each of your chosen papers are due at the beginning of class on the days the papers are discussed.
  • December 9: Turn in a final version of your paper.
econ 276a
experimental economics

Professor Ryan Oprea, Fall 2016
Economics Department, UC Santa Barbara

The aim of this course is to introduce Ph.D. students to the major themes and motivations of modern experimental economics and to provide a strong foundation in experimental design and methodology.

vital information
  • Schedule: Monday and Wednesday 8:15-9:30 a.m.
  • Room: North Hall 2111
  • Office hours: Monday 9:30-11:30 am, and by appointment
  • Office: 3028 North Hall
  • Instructor Email: roprea@gmail.com
the course

The course will be divided into two parts that will run in tandem.

Mondays: Methodology Lectures. Each Monday I will give a lecture on methodology (we will almost certainly go off schedule as I like to let class discussion move organically). To make things more concrete, we will constantly refer to two example projects that we will "develop" over the course of the semester.

Wednesdays: Paper Discussions. Each Wednesday we will engage in an in-depth discussion of a single paper and the literature leading to and surrounding it. Each year I select papers that (i) cover a lot of methodological ground, (ii) cover a lot of motivational ground, (iii) cover a lot of topical ground and (iv) are recent, innovative and influential. I will open these discussions with a mini lecture contextualizing the paper and discussion will then unfold Socratically, led by the discussion leader (with frequent interruption by me).

grades and assignments

Referee Reports and Discussion Leaders. (20%) Wednesday discussions are linked to your responsibilities in the course. While every person in the course is expected to have read each paper carefully, each paper discussion will be primarily led by one student. (Each of you will select 10/N papers to present.) For each of these papers you will turn in a 1-3 page referee report due on the day the paper is to be discussed. I expect the discussion leader to create a power point / beamer presentation containing at least the main equations, tables, econometrics and figures from the paper so we can reference them together during the discussion. I will also pose questions during the discussions and you will be responsible for being prepared to answer them.

Paper. (70%)The main component of your grade will be a final 12-25 page paper presenting a fully worked out design for an experiment. I expect the paper to be well motivated and carefully written with a thoughtful connection to an organizing piece of theory and relevant previous experimental literature. The experimental design should be fairly complete in the sense that it should include specific numeric parameters, appropriate diagnostics and specific treatments. The paper should also give a very specific description of how each of the paper's hypotheses will be tested with reference to appropriate statistical tests/techniques.

Class Participation (10%) I expect students to attend class and to come to Wednesday discussions prepared with a firm grasp of the paper.  I will be asking questions to specific students throughout the course and you will be graded based on your level of preperadness.