Former workshop alumni, Bradley Ruffle, discusses his experiment in the Economic Science Institute lab.

January 7-11, 2020 This year marks the 25th annual Visiting Graduate Student Workshop in Experimental Economics held at the Economic Science Institute at Chapman University. To mark this special year, something different was done: previous alumni of the workshop were invited back to present. The goal of bringing previous attendees to present their research was to spark inspiration for the current attendees. These presenters were once graduate students themselves and have since gone on to have success in their careers in the field of experimental economics. They include Alex Brown (Texas A&M University), Gabriele Camera (Chapman University), Sherry Li (University of Arkansas), Bradley Ruffle (McMaster University), Orly Sade (The Hebrew University), and Tim Salmon (Southern Methodist University).

Drs. Vernon Smith and Bart Wilson in the lab discussing the results to the experiment. Workshop attendees participate in experiments for cash.

The 22 workshop attendees came from all around the world to learn about experimental methodology and see what current researchers in the field are doing. In a series of 11 sessions, attendees participate in experiments first as naïve subjects would and earn cash. A lecture on the experiment and results immediately follows the experiment. This unique structure gives the attendees an invaluable experience and perspective. One attendee describes, “The workshop uniquely allows us to experience experiments from the perspective of an experimenter as well as a subject. This knowledge and perspective in relation to both are instrumental for any experimental economist.” Attendees left the workshop with inspiration for their own research.

Participants seated in a circle participating in a Colloquium Discussion

Chapman University professors Bart Wilson and Vernon Smith lead a colloquium discussion with the workshop participants.

Attendees have the opportunity to interact with the faculty throughout the week. Vernon Smith and Bart Wilson of Chapman University lead a colloquium style discussion with the group. In a smaller group, a few attendees have lunch with a presenter of their choice. This allows both presenters and speakers to discuss their current research in detail. Students receive advice and potential direction from the presenters. Beyond the chance for attendees to meet and interact with faculty, many build life-long friendships inside and outside of research with their fellow attendees. As one student put it, “It’s just such a brilliant opportunity – in terms of networking, and learning about experimental methodology and research outside your field, it’s fantastic.”

The workshop topics/experiments and speakers:

Comparing Techniques for Inducing Cognitive Load, Cary Deck, University of Alabama and Chapman University
Plausibility of Equilibrium Play,
Alex Brown, Texas A&M University
Experimental Finance and Long Term Savings Decisions,
Orly Sade, The Hebrew University
Endogenous Selection
, Tim Salmon, Southern Methodist University
Derivative Assets,
Steven Gjerstad, Chapman University
Colloquium Discussion,
Bart Wilson and Vernon Smith, Chapman University         
Intergroup Decisions,
Sherry Li, University of Arkansas
Financial Reporting & Moral Sentiments,
Timothy Shields, Chapman University
Macro Experiments,
Gabriele Camera, Chapman University
Different Cooperative Norms,
Bradley Ruffle, McMaster University          

Dynamic Health Investments, Hillard Kaplan and Dustin Tracy, Chapman University

Excitement among participants after the completion of an experiment

The annual workshop is free to attend and is generously sponsored in part by The International Foundation for Research in Experimental Economics (IFREE). For more information on the workshop and upcoming dates hosted at the Economic Science Institute, please visit the Economic Science Institute’s website.