Chapman University has earned the number two spot on the ranking for the Top 10 Percent of Institutions and Economists in the Field of Experimental Economics. The ranking includes 154 institutions from around the globe. Chapman also claims the number 3 spot in Cognitive and Behavioral Economics, the number 4 spot in Evolutionary Economics, and the number 8 spot in Game Theory.

“Our experimental economists are doing groundbreaking work and we are thrilled to see them recognized for it,” said Tomas Turk, Ph.D., dean of the Argyros School of Business and Economics. “Chapman is competing successfully for these rankings with international powerhouses in economics such as the Universities of Zurich and Chicago.”

Chapman University’s Economic Science Institute (ESI) is the University’s home for experimental economics. Founded by Nobel Laureate in Economics Vernon Smith, Ph.D., in 2008. ESI is housed in Chapman’s Argyros School of Business and Economics. ESI has ten full-time faculty, including one of the world’s top game theorists, Daniel Kovenock, and internationally prominent evolutionary anthropologist Hillard Kaplan. ESI also has a post-doc program that immerses select Ph.D. graduates in its highly productive research environment, and a constant rotation of visiting faculty from universities around the world.

The genesis of the Economic Science Institute was an experiment professor Vernon L. Smith conducted in an introductory economics class in 1956. He had an innovative vision of a better method for researching and teaching economics. The experiment led to the field of Experimental Economics, and Smith’s groundbreaking work earned him a share of the 2002 Nobel Prize in Economic Science. Using that recognition as a springboard, in 2008 Chapman’s Argyros School of Business and Economics announced the Economic Science Institute, founded by Smith and fellow professors, David Porter, Stephen Rassenti, Bart Wilson, and the late John Dickhaut

Traditionally, economists relied heavily on mathematical abstractions to understand how people behave and how markets work. Vernon Smith postulated that markets in natural environments are dynamic and operate in specialized institutional settings. He began laboratory work to determine if those mathematical abstractions actually described market behavior, and whether they could be tested using a scientific approach. This method has become known as Experimental Economics.

The format of a typical teaching experiment runs as follows. First the participants are put directly into the experiment, just as subjects in the lab would be. It’s important for the participants to experience the experiment before they are given an explanation of the results of the research, as an explanation could influence the results. After the participants have finished with their experiment, they’re given a talk on the results of the laboratory research. Finally, they’re shown the results from the experiment they participated in, for comparison. Each teaching session typically lasts one to two hours. Using this format promotes open discussion on the topic.

In addition to conducting experiments with laboratory subjects who are paid on the basis of the outcomes that result from their behavior, the faculty in Chapman’s ESI regularly publish their experimental results in academic and other broadly circulated books and journals.

The criteria for ranking institutional performance are based on analysis from data gathered with the RePEc project. These rankings consider journal articles, books, book chapters, working papers and software components that are indexed in RePEc. Citation ranks are updated daily and cover all items according to several ways of counting citations. Downloads and abstract counts are computed once a month and are separated by documents type.

More about the ranking can be found at:

More about Chapman University’s Economic Science Institute can be found at:

About Chapman University

As an academically distinguished center of learning, Chapman University attracts extraordinary students and faculty from around the globe. Its ten schools and colleges foster a vibrant intellectual community, and provide extensive opportunities for students to learn, grow and discover alongside remarkable faculty. The University is home to some 8,000 students pursuing bachelor, master and doctoral degrees, and is alma mater to more than 40,000 alumni found throughout the United States and the world. Now celebrating its 157th year, Chapman is known for its distinguishing strengths in leadership and civic engagement, in the arts and entertainment disciplines, and in specialized sectors of technology and science. The University is comprised of its main campus in Orange, California, and the Rinker Health Science campus for graduate health science programs in Irvine, California. Visit us at

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