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The University of Southampton

ECON6053 Experimental Economics

Module Overview

This module will introduce students to the practice of experimentation in economics, as developed in the last sixty years. Emphasis will be on the methodology, in particular, statistical techniques necessary for establishing causality and valid inference, non-parametric and other useful non-standard statistical tests for experimental data, formal analysis of how scientific knowledge accumulates, in particular with respect to replication and meta-analysis.

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Learn about the design of lab and field experiments.
  • A commitment to work with and learn from colleagues.
  • A commitment to continued reflection, evaluation and self-improvement.
  • Reflect on the use of modern econometric techniques for quasi-experimental and observational data.
  • Learn about non-parametric techniques.
  • Reflect on scientific method, including replication and meta-analysis.
  • Describe the basic types of experimental economic research, as well as the main findings of the relevant literature.
  • Employ the quantitative skills necessary for designing experiments and analysing the evidence, as well as for performing observational studies.
  • Assess whether the design and analysis of existing empirical research promotes sound replicable and incremental knowledge.
  • Adopt and develop a sound quantitative approach to economic problems, e.g. through their MSc dissertation.
  • A commitment to scholarship in economics to achieve the highest professional standards.


The main topics to be covered are: Topic 1: Introduction to experimental economics and the main types of economic experiments. Topic 2: The design of economic experiments: randomization, power analysis and controlling for failures of randomization. Topic 3: Empirical results from the lab: market and auctions, coordination and public goods, bargaining and social preferences, and individual decision-making. Topic 4: Other approaches: field experiments and neuroeconomics. Topic 5: Synthesizing the evidence: replications and meta-analysis.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

This is a module consisting of 20 hours of lectures and classes. Module hand-outs, lectures notes and problem sets will be made available via Blackboard.

Independent Study80
Total study time100

Resources & Reading list

John H Kagel and Alvin ERoth (1995). The Handbook of Experimental Economics. 

Harris Cooper, Larry Hedges, Jeffrey Valentine (2009). The Handbook of Research Synthesis and Meta-Analysis. 

Murray Webster and Lane Sell (2007). Laboratory Experiments in the Social Sciences. 


Assessment Strategy

The module will be assessed by coursework in form of problem sets (worth 20% of the final mark), successful participation in class e.g. in experiments (10%) and a final take-home assignment (70%). Assessment for referral and external repeat is through final assignment only.


MethodPercentage contribution
Class participation 10%
Coursework 20%
Home assignment 70%


MethodPercentage contribution
Home assignment 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Home assignment 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

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