What is an economic experiment?

Economic experiments are used to study the behaviour of real agents in simplified and reproducible environments. The experiments can be carried out either in the laboratory or in the field. The laboratory experiment is usually conducted using computers. A piece of software reproduces the environment in which the agent operates by providing stimuli, which can take the form of images, data sets, questions. Faced with such stimuli, the subject is asked to make choices, give answers, express feelings.


No special preparation is required to take part in an experiment. On the contrary, if the subject is aware of some of the elements relating to the environment simulated in the experiment, the results are generally distorted. In such cases, the experiment is useless. The experiment does not measure the subject's ability, preparation or intelligence. The purpose is to measure the interactions between the actions of the subject(s) and the simulated environment.

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