Econ 740b. Experimental Economics Seminar

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This is a doctoral level course on field experiments, i.e., controlled experiments that take place outside the university laboratory. The course includes standard laboratory-type surveys in non-standard environments, all the way to fully “natural” experiments in which the subjects do not realize that they are participating in controlled research. The course will be part methodological (e.g. selection bias, human subjects concerns, statistical techniques) and part substantive. A large focus will be on design of experiments, across many sub-fields within economics and other social science disciplines, with a large attention to using experiments to test theories. The major requirement for the course (in addition to presenting and critiquing papers from the literature) will be to fully design an implementible field experiment. Topics covered will include racial discrimination; incentives and cooperation; risk and time preferences; commitment and self-control; savings behavior; credit behavior; public health; education; charitable giving; altruism and social preferences; and possibly more depending on interest. Despite the long list of topics, research from developing countries will receive more than its pro-rata share of attention. Students from non-economics fields are welcome to contact the professors to discuss enrollment.