UAA Experimental Economics Laboratory

 
 

The experimental economics lab can assist in facilitating both computerized and hand-run experiments. The software described below can be run in standard computer labs or in the experimental economics lab. Lab staff has experience using a variety of these sources and are happy to help in facilitating experiments.

 

 

Software from the UAA Experimental Economics Lab:


UAA Python Experimental Economics Toolkit (PEET)

Ben Saylor
University of Alaska Anchorage

PEET is UAA's application and programming framework for multi-player, networked economics experiments. Modeled roughly after Multistage from CalTech and UCLA, it provides a common set of services and user interfaces, such as parameter management, client-server communication, status monitoring, and output data management. Individual experiments can be implemented as Python modules that plug into the framework.

PEET version 1.0 includes the Island Experiment, described below.

PEET is free software released under the GPL v3 license.

Requirements

PEET is written in the Python programming language, and uses the wxPython library for its graphical user interface, both of which must be installed in order to run the application.

  1. Python version 2.6: http://python.org/

  2. wxPython for Python 2.6: http://wxpython.org/


See the Basic Instructions for more details on installing the requirements and PEET itself.

Download

  1. Basic Instructions

  2. PEET 1.0 (released May 6, 2010)


Acknowledgements

Development of this software was funded in part by National Science Foundation grant # 0729063

Island Experiment

Paul Johnson, Ben Saylor
University of Alaska Anchorage

The Island Experiment is a general equilibrium market experiment that renders business cycles less abstract by bringing them into the classroom. Students' own decisions generate macroeconomic outcomes including production, employment and prices. Computerization allows all prices to be determined endogenously instead of being imposed by the instructor. Instructors can choose experiment parameters and output data is automatically generated as a spreadsheet file. The experiment is primarily designed for use in intermediate macroeconomics courses, but principles students are also capable of understanding and participating in it.

The Island Experiment is written as a module for PEET, and is included in the PEET 1.0 package described above.

Price Adjustment and the Current Account under a Flexible Exchange Rate Regime

Paul Johnson, Ben Saylor
University of Alaska Anchorage

In order to appreciate the effects of changes in the foreign exchange rate on the current account, it is essential to understand the basic market forces involved. This two country, two good, two currency market experiment allows subjects to generate goods prices, exchange rates, and trade flows through trading with each other. Trade is motivated by specialization and simple Ricardian comparative advantage. Instructors can set experiment parameters and output data is automatically generated as a spreadsheet file.

This experiment is conceptually similar to Noussair, Plott and Riezman (1997 Journal of Political Economy) which found that trade flows were as predicted by the law of comparative advantage, and the exchange rate evolved over time toward the predicted competitive values. However, in contrast to their experiment, subjects value discrete units of goods directly and are not supplied with demand and supply curves. Production each round is chosen from a simple production function, and trading occurs through three simultaneous double oral auction markets.

The software is based on Multistage, an open source Java based software platform developed jointly by Cal Tech and UCLA. Here we provide a version of Multistage that includes this game (its short name in the package is "CompAd" for "Comparative Advantage"). Please see the Multistage web site for general information about Multistage, including user and developer documentation. The software requires a Java run time environment to be installed, which can be downloaded from the Java web site.

  1. multistage-1.0-BETA-CompAd.zip - Binary software package of Multistage 1.0 Beta with the CompAd game

  2. multistage-src-1.0-BETA-CompAd.zip - Source code

  3. compad-instructions.txt - Brief cheat-sheet instructions for running the game which may be helpful once you have the Multistage system up and running. For more complete documentation, see the Multistage User Guide.

  4. compad-example.txt - Example parameter file

  5. Instructions for participants - U.S. Teams, Japan Teams


Other Experimental Economics Software:


Minimal / No Programming

Veconlab Pre-Programmed Experiments: Charles Holt has an excellent set of web-based classroom experiments posted on his website. These pre-programmed experiments are very well done, easy to modify and easy to run. Click here to go to Charlie Holt's Classroom Experiments Webpage.

Econport:  Econport is an NSF funded project (part of the National Science Digital Laboratory Initiative) based on experimental work done at the University of Arizona and Georgia State University. This software allows one to display results of hand-run experiments quickly in the classroom. In addition, the software allows more flexibility in running fundamental experiments (e.g. auctions, normal and extensive form games, public goods). The software platform is significantly more flexible than other pre-programmed environments (compared to Holt, Aplia, or GMU software) and is more user friendly than Multistage or Z-tree for non-programmers. Lab staff has experience with this software and are happy to assist. Click here to go to Econport

Comlab: Similar to econport comlab also allows researchers to design relatively sophisticated experiments without programming. Click here to visit the Comlab website.

Jim's List: a good collection of hand-run and computerized experiment resources.

ESI / ICES Software: The ESI / ICES Teaching Suite is a group of programs created by the Economic Science Institute at Chapman UniversityInterdisciplinary Center for Economic Science at George Mason  University. Applications include auction markets, normal and extensive form game theory, public goods, and asset markets. These experiments are pre-loaded on lab machines and have been written in Visual Basic. These experiments can be run in the Experimental Economics Lab and in other labs in Rasmuson Hall. 



More Programming Required


Aton: A variety of java based experiments from the Aton Experimental Economics Laboratory. Click here to visit...

JessX: Open source Java based software tailored to financial market experiments. Click here to visit the webpage.

JAuctions: Open source java based software developed at CalTech. As the name implies, the software is designed to run auction based experiments - click here to visit the webpage

JMarkets: Open source java based software developed jointly by CalTech and UCLA.  Amenable to running multi-market experiments - click here to visit the webpage

Multistage: Multistage is an open source Java based software platform developed jointly by  Cal Tech and UCLA (lead programmer Walter Yuan). There are several pre-programmed experiments available and the software is easy to modify for someone with Java programming experience. Research experiments using Multistage have been run here at UAA and we have written several classroom experiments using Multistage. Ben Saylor, ISER programmer, has extensive experience working with this software and can assist in programming experiments. Click here to visit the Multistage Website.

SWiEE: Allows for the integration of experiments and agent based simulations using SWARM. Click here for the webpage.

WILLOW: Python based, open source, experimental economics software. A well documented software that can be used to program python based experiments w/ a web-based client user interface.  Click here for the webpage.

Z-tree: Z-tree is a flexible and popular experimental programming environment that has been used to run experiments on many campuses, including UAA. Z-tree offers some pre-programmed experiments but requires more programming input than the Holt, GMU, or Econport environments. For more information go to the Z-Tree website

ZOCALO: Open source software used for developing prediction markets. Click here to visit the zocalo  website.



Subject Databases

MooreRecruiting / CasselWeb: An open source Java based subject database developed jointly by CalTech and UCLA (lead programmer Walter Yuan). The database allows recruitment based on past experiment sign-up, participation. The new version released in 2010 allows customizable surveys which are stored as subject characteristics - any characteristic can be used for recruitment. The database also stores subject earnings and can be used in accounting. We are making modifications to the new version and are happy to pass along our modifications of the code (email for details).  Click here to go to the MooreRecruiting wiki / webpage.


ORSEE: Subject database - seems easy to use / install - programmed in PHP. Click here to visit the ORSEE webpage

 
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