The ExECUTe in short
The ExECUTe-laboratory was established in summer 2002. The first teaching experiments were conducted in the winter semester 2002/03. It is located in rooms 028 and 031 of the Institute of Management and Economics, Julius-Albert-Strasse 2.
There are 20 PC-workspaces in two rooms for experiment participants. The spaces are divided by screening walls.
Experimental economic research
One of the goals of experimental economic research is to relate the behavior or real test subjects in artificial laboratory environments to the actual behavior of humans in real economical situations. Experiments foster a better understanding of individuals' decision-making behavior as economic theories often deviate from the actual observable behavior. Thus, the collected laboratory data enables researchers to evaluate existing theories and develop them further.
Compared to other economic research fields, experimental economic research is quite a young field. Only in the early 1960s it became significant when Vernon Smith proved that with so-called double auctions the market clearance at an equilibrium price forecasted the market dynamic very precisely.
Despite these first successes, experimental research still played a subordinate role in economics. Only in the last few years, this method has started to complement economic theory. The awarding of Nobel prizes to Vernom Smith and Daniel Kahneman in 2002 as well as to Richard Thaler in 2017 dürfte dieser Bereich endgültig aus seinem Nischendasein getreten, und als ein wichtiger Bestandteil der ökonomischen Forschung anerkannt worden sein.
Fields of research and goals
The research focuses at the ExECUTe are the experimental evaluation of human decision-making behavior, the analysis of various insitutionalized regimes and the theory of the firm.
Computer-aided behavioral experiments
One of the major advantages of computer-aided experiments is the simple and reliable data collection. The use of computers also minimizes sources of error and leads to a significantly faster conduction of experiments. Thus, more extensive data sets can be collected than in traditional lecture hall experiments with pen and paper. Additionally, data collected in computer labs can be considerably more complex and CPU-intensive.
At the ExECUTe, we mainly use the software "zTree" developed at the University of Zurich by Urs Fischbacher, which is also used in various other laboratories worldwide.