UAA Experimental Economics Laboratory



The Rasmuson Chair has been central to the development of UAA’s experimental economics program. The Rasmuson Chair was created through a generous endowment by the late Elmer Rasmuson, a distinguished banker, entrepreneur, and philanthropist. The Chair was established by the Board of Regents in late 2001.

In 2003, Professor Vernon Smith, a 2002 Nobel laureate in economics, served as the first Rasmuson Chair in Economics.  Professor Smith is an economist at Chapman University, ICES Emeritus faculty at George Mason University, and president of IFREE.  Prof. Smith served as Rasmuson Chair until 2006.

Under Dr. Smith's leadership, a new experimental research and teaching emphasis took shape at UAA. The UAA Experimental Economics program is now ranked in the top 10% of experimental economics programs internationally. In October 2017, the lab was renamed the Vernon Smith Economic Science Laboratory in his honor.

In Fall 2006 UAA welcomed Jim Murphy as the second distinguished Rasmuson Chair. Jim is an accomplished experimentalist and resource economist who joined UAA from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Jim is actively engaged in using experimental methods in his research and teaching. 

The third Rasmuson Chair of Economics, Professor Robert Kurzban, served from 2012 to 2013. Rob is a distinguished faculty member in the Department of Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania. More information about his research can be found at his website.

From 2013 to 2014 Professor Todd Cherry served as the fourth visiting Rasmuson Chair. Todd is a Professor of Economics at Appalachian State University and is the Director of the Center for Economic Research and Policy Analysis.

Professor Jason Shogren from the University of Wyoming was the fifth visiting Rasmuson Chair of Economics. Jason is the distinguished Strook Professor of Natural Resource Conservation and Management at the University of Wyoming. He began his time as Chair in 2014.

Professor Cary Deck was the sixth visiting Rasmuson Chair. Cary is a Professor of Economics in the Sam M. Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas. Cary was in residence during the 2015-2016 academic year.

Professor Tim Cason was the seventh visiting Rasmuson Chair, in residence during the Fall 2016 semester. Tim is the Distinguished Professor and Robert and Susan Gadomski Chair in Economics at Purdue University.

The eight visiting Rasmuson Chair of Economics was Professor Bart Wilson, the Donald P. Kennedy Endowed Chair of Economics and Law at Chapman University.

The current visiting Rasmuson Chair is Philip Grossman, a professor in the Department of Economics at Monash University. Phil’s areas of research include experimental economics, behavioral economics, charitable giving, and leadership. He will be in residence for the duration of the Fall 2017 semester.

Support from the College of Business and Public Policy, the CBPP Dean, Bogdan Hoanca, and former Deans Tom Case, Bear Baker, and Rashmi Prasad have been vital to the development of the experimental economics lab and program. 

Click here to read a short overview of Experimental Economics at UAA, edited by Linda Leask.

What is experimental economics?

"Using Experimental Methods to Inform Public Policy Debates" is a great overview of experimental methods by Jim Murphy.

Click here to watch Vernon Smith describe experimental methods in economics.

Faculty and Researchers invited:

Experiments at UAA are currently run by faculty from a variety of disciplinary backgrounds including economics, public policy, and computer information systems. Successful experimental programs build on faculty participation from a broad range of disciplinary perspectives. We invite all interested faculty to contact us to learn more about how experimental methods may be used to address focused research questions. In addition to research, there are also numerous avenues by which experimental economics can be used to meet learning objectives in the classroom. The links on the left provide more specific information about software used for experimental teaching applications.

Students Invited:

UAA students benefit from the lab in several ways. First, students have the opportunity to earn CASH by participating in experiments as paid subjects. Second, UAA students can learn through the use of experiments in the classroom. There are currently several economics courses that integrate experimental methods into the curriclulum, including Principles of Microeconomics and Experimental Economics. Finally, students can participate in undergraduate research using experimental methods.  Students from the Computer Information Systems and Economics departments have worked with faculty on experimental related projects.

Lab Infrastructure:

The UAA experimental economics lab is operated by the UAA Department of Economics and is housed in room 205C of  Rasmuson Hall on the main UAA campus. 

The lab consists of 20 Dell Desktop PCs connected to our server which is privately connected to the UAA network, making it accessible within any classroom in Rasmuson Hall to lab staff and faculty.  We also have a portable lab containing 25 Dell Netbooks and a Cisco 1130 Wireless Access Point allowing for experiments to be run in a variety of locations, including classrooms.


Lance Howe, Lab Director


Lab Staff

Click here for more information on lab staff

Click here for directions

Click here for the economics department working paper series.

What is Experimental Economics?