Annotated Table of Contents

The book is organized as a series of experiments. Within each experiment, there is a short description to be read by the students prior to class, a lab report in which to collect data and begin some analysis, a discussion section that elucidates the appropriate economic theory and principles, and a homework section that ties what they found in the experiment to the theory.

Part I: Competitive Markets

Part II: Market Intervention and Public Policy

Part III: Imperfect Markets

These experiments present environments in which market outcomes are not expected to be efficient. The ideas here are useful both for understanding the workings of actual markets and for suggesting appropriate roles for government policy.

Part IV: Firms and Technology

We have found that a good way to introduce students to the basic ideas of the theory of the firm is to gradually slip economists' notions of technology and costs into the design of the experiments, and let students who play the role of firms figure out how to behave before they are exposed to abstract theories. Some of this has already been done in the earlier experiments on shifting supply curves, sales taxes, minimum wages, and externalities. We pursue the theory of the firm further in these experiments.

Part IV: Information, Auctions, and Bargaining

These topics often get little or no attention in standard principles texts. Nevertheless, they are each closely related to students' practical experience in actual markets, and each of these topics has been a success story for the methods of modern economics. These experiments have been very popular with our students, who have had little difficulty in grasping these ideas.

Copyright (c) 1996, Theodore Bergstrom and John H. Miller, All Rights Reserved
John H. Miller, miller@zia.hss.cmu .edu.