University of Technology Sydney

23004 Experimental Economics

Warning: The information on this page is indicative. The subject outline for a particular session, location and mode of offering is the authoritative source of all information about the subject for that offering. Required texts, recommended texts and references in particular are likely to change. Students will be provided with a subject outline once they enrol in the subject.

Subject handbook information prior to 2022 is available in the Archives.

UTS: Business: Economics
Credit points: 6 cp

Subject level:


Result type: Grade and marks

Requisite(s): 23567 Intermediate Microeconomics AND 23592 Game Theory
These requisites may not apply to students in certain courses.
There are course requisites for this subject. See access conditions.


This subject uses experiments to investigate behaviour in markets, games and other strategic situations. It provides a hands-on introduction to different trading mechanisms (e.g. continuous time double auctions, sealed-bid auctions, common-value auctions) and social dilemmas that arise when people try to provide public goods voluntarily, lobby to influence government, compete in contests, and bargain with and trust each other.

Subject learning objectives (SLOs)

Upon successful completion of this subject students should be able to:
1. Distinguish between the operation of commonly used trading mechanisms and the problems of social dilemmas
2. Apply the basic economic theory used to model these trading mechanisms and social dilemmas
3. Design experiments to compare the performance of alternative trading mechanisms and solutions to social dilemmas
4. Design experiments to test a theoretical or behavioural conjecture

Contribution to the development of graduate attributes

This subject familiarises students with the theoretical models and experimental methods used by economists to design and evaluate various trading mechanisms and alternative solutions to social dilemma problems. It promotes an understanding of how institutional rules and incentives shape economic outcomes and how to analyse an applied problem using the reverse engineered approach. The subject contributes to the following Business School graduate attributes: critical thinking, creativity and analytical skills, and business practice oriented skills. The skills learned from the subject can be applied to a range of problems in both the private and public sectors.

Teaching and learning strategies

The course uses a combination of lectures, tutorials and participation in experiments.

Content (topics)

  • Market mechanisms (e.g., pit markets, double auction markets, call markets).
  • Experimental asset markets (e.g., bubbles, information aggregation)
  • Information asymmetries and market performance.
  • Auction markets (e.g., private value auctions, common value auctions, position/keyword auctions, and combinatorial auctions).
  • Experimental game theory.
  • Designing experiments to assess the performance of alternative trading mechanisms.
  • Designing experiments to test economic theory.


Assessment task 1: Lab Report (Individual)


This addresses subject learning objective(s):

1 and 2

Weight: 40%

Assessment task 2: Presentation and Discussion (Individual)


This addresses subject learning objective(s):

3 and 4

Weight: 30%

Assessment task 3: Experimental Design Proposal (Group)


This addresses subject learning objective(s):

3 and 4

Weight: 30%

Minimum requirements

Students must achieve at least 50% of the subject’s total marks.


  1. Charles Holt, Markets, Games, & Strategic Behavior (2007, Pearson).
  2. John Kagel and Alvin Roth, The Handbook of Experimental Economics (1997, Princeton University Press)
  3. Daniel Friedman and Shyam Sunder, Experimental Methods: A Primer for Economists by (1994 Cambridge University Press)
  4. Colin Camerer, Behavioral Game Theory: Experiments in Strategic Interaction, (2003, Princeton University Press