ECON42590 Experiments in Economics

Academic Year 2021/2022

“It is possible to make significant progress against poverty in the world by focusing on well-defined questions, and being as rigorous as possible in answering those questions in the real world” Prof. Esther Duflo, Nobel Prize Banquet Speech 2019.

This module sits firmly in Duflo’s vision for the role of economists in public policy by creating empirically grounded research which uses causal methods to inform policy debates and design. This module provides a detailed overview of the key methods for examining causal relationships and testing theoretical mechanisms in behavioural economics. The module is divided into two sections. First, we will examine the use of randomised controlled field trials in behavioural economics. Second, we examine the use of lab experiments in behavioural economics. The module will cover all aspects of conducting a field/lab experiment including study design, ethical approval, randomisation, power analysis, measurement, analysis, and validity. For your assignment, you will have the opportunity to design and conduct an online group experiment. The aim of the assignment is to apply the theoretical frameworks covered in the module to the practical application of field and lab experiments.

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

At the end of the module, you will be able to:
• Describe the key experimental and causal methods in behavioural economics
• Articulate key methodological debates on causal methods
• Demonstrable theoretical knowledge on the key processes involved in conducting field and lab experiments
• Evaluate the strengths and limitations of field and lab experiments
• Apply practical experience in designing a field and lab experiment.

Indicative Module Content:

Module Overview & Field Experiments: Introduction to Randomised Controlled Trials I
Field Experiments: Introduction to Randomised Controlled Trials II
Field Experiments: Methods of Randomisation
Field Experiments: Power Analysis & Sample Size
Field Experiments: Measurement
Field Experiments: Analysis & Threats to Validity
Lab Experiments: Risk preferences
Lab Experiments: Time preferences
Lab Experiments: Social preferences I
Lab Experiments: Social preferences II
Lab Experiments: Gender and discrimination

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours
Autonomous Student Learning






Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
Multiple different teaching and learning approaches will be used in this module including reflective learning, class discussion, group work, lectures and tutorials. 
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations

Not applicable to this module.

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
Not applicable to this module.
Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade
Examination: End of trimester 2 hour exam 2 hour End of Trimester Exam No Alternative linear conversion grade scale 40% No


Group Project: Design, implement, and analyse an online survey experiment and write up a report Throughout the Trimester n/a Alternative linear conversion grade scale 40% No


Carry forward of passed components
Resit In Terminal Exam
Spring No
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Feedback individually to students, on an activity or draft prior to summative assessment
• Group/class feedback, post-assessment
• Peer review activities

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

Not yet recorded.

Name Role
Dr Margaret Samahita Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Ms Lucie Martin Tutor