Here is the
last updated 11 August, 2003.
73/88-110 Experiments with Economic Principles, Fall 2003
This course is designed to teach you the basic principles of economics, and
in so doing give you a better understanding of how individuals and societies
make key choices.
This course differs from a conventional social science course in that
we present all of the relevant
material through the use of in-class experiments rather than lectures.
The use of experiments makes class both more
enjoyable and insightful.
One nice feature of economic experiments is that you can be both a participant
and an observer, and you often will learn nearly as much about economic
principles from your experience as a participant as you will from your
analysis as an observer.
Given the difficulty of reproducing the
experiments on your own, make sure you always attend and participate
during these sessions.
At the conclusion of each experiment, it
is time to really put economics to the test---can economic theory explain
the complex interactions of the participants in your experiments?
After the experiment you will need to try and organize your
thoughts about what occurred and
discover the underlying principles of the system.
This is not an easy thing to do, but your skill will
improve with practice.
I hope that you will leave the class with both a deep
understanding of what I feel are some of the
most important principles underlying social decisions
and also a general set of skills that will allow you to
discover new ideas on your own.
Important course announcements, last updated
11 August, 2003.
- At any time
feel free to provide feedback to me via email or in person.
- Make sure you come by my office during the first
week of classes so I can get to know you.
- Meeting Times and Location: MWF 10:30-11:20am, PH A21.
- [EEP] Theodore Bergstrom and John H. Miller,
with Economic Principles: Microeconomics SECOND edition,
(Available at the fine CMU book store.)
- You also need to register as a student at
I will announce the needed "course code" in class. Make sure you
register and enroll by 3:00 pm, Thursday, 28 August, 2003, or you will
miss the first experiment.
- On occasion, you may need to download some
files for the in-class experiments. (These will
also have links from the syllabus.)
- An important part of the class is connecting the material we
learn with the real world.
For each chapter, we have begun a collection of relevant
newspaper articles, make sure you read them as we work through the
You may also want to keep track of the
Time daily news summary
or similar services for news about real policy
making. Here is a link to the
If you're interested, you can get information on all of the
winners in economics (a particularly interesting story is the
one about the "Lost Years" of John Nash).
Of course, you also may want to know a few
- Course Policies: Make sure you fully understand
all of the important course policies.
- Grading and Assignments:
- Brownie Points: If you would to earn some brownie
points (but, alas no formal extra credit),
come and see me about developing resources for learning in the
class. Anything from finding some good pointers to related material
to developing a web-based experiment is appreciated.
John H. Miller ,