Experimental economics tests theories in the controlled environment of a laboratory. While the majority of experiments simulate markets and auctions, experimental economics methodology is also used to study human behaviour more widely.
Established in 2007, E2MU promotes the use of experimental methods in economics research and policy.View
Information about our seminar series on Experimental and Behavioural Economics which is open to researchers in the area.View
Frequently asked questions
Got a question about taking part in experiments at the lab? Browse our FAQs page.View
Browse the E2MU Experiments calendar.View
China's Generational Divide
The use of experimental economics techniques are important as they highlight the origins of some of the basic preferences that shape our everyday decisions.
Experimental economics techniques provide valuable insights into wildfire responses.
With experimental economics we can study the basic human tendencies that influence economic behaviour more generally.
By registering, you are notifying researchers at the Faculty of Business and Economics at The University of Melbourne (and other affiliated institutions) that you are willing to participate in experiments and will adhere to all rules and regulations.
Rules For Participants
- When you register to participate in economics experiments, your name will be added to our E2MU database. When an experiment is scheduled, the system will randomly select a sub-pool of participants to invite to the experiment.
- You will be notified via email if you are randomly selected to participate in an experiment. You will be permitted to participate in an experiment only if you receive an invitation.
- If you receive an invitation, you will need to click on the registration link in the email to register for the session that you wish to participate in.
- Once you register for a session, you must immediately notify researchers via email if you can no longer participate in the experiment. This will allow them to find a replacement for you. Participants who do not show up for the experiment on time or who cancel their registration within 1 hour prior to the start of the experiment will receive a “no-show” penalty.
- It is possible, but unlikely, that you will not be required to participate in the experiment when you arrive on the day of the experiment. This can happen if we have more people than the required number to fill the session. If this happens (and you have arrived on time), you will be compensated with a one-off payment of $10.
- Each person who participates in an experiment will receive a payment, typically at the end of the session. The amount you will receive may depend on the type of experiment, the decisions you make, and the decisions made by other participants. The average earnings of participants in a session may range between $15 and $30 per hour.
Information for Participants
- The laboratory prohibits the use of deception in all experimental protocols taking place in our facility.
Privacy Collection Notice
The collection of personal information by the University of Melbourne (University) is governed by the Privacy and Data Protection Act 2014 (Vic) and Health Records Act 2001 (Vic) (together, Privacy Laws). The University is also considered to be a data controller for the purposes of the EU General Data Protection Regulation 2016/679 (GDPR) in relation to the collection of personal information from individuals located in the EU, when conducting certain activities. The University is committed to protecting your privacy and processing your personal information fairly and lawfully in compliance with the Privacy Laws and the GDPR, as applicable.
When you agree to participate in economics experiments at the University of Melbourne, your personal data is collected and managed in the following ways. You may contact us at any time by emailing email@example.com.
- When you register to participate in economics experiments, your personal information is collected by the Department of Economics at the University of Melbourne and will be stored in the E2MU server. The information you provide is used for the limited purposes of organising scientific experiments and managing your registration, specifically to:
- inform you of new experiments and invite you to participate; and
- confirm whether you have attended the sessions you have registered for.
- You are not required by law to provide the requested information however, you may be unable to participate in the research you have expressed an interest in if you do not provide this information.
- You can unsubscribe from our mailing list or request your data be deleted from the E2MU server without restrictions, by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
- In addition, participants generate data by making decisions during experiments. This data is analysed scientifically by the researchers conducting the experiment. There is no connection between the data collected during the experiments and the data stored on the E2MU server.
- In most experiments, decisions will be made anonymously. However, in the rare occasion that the design of the experiment is such that your identity may be revealed to other participants, you will be informed and explicit consent will be sought.
- Regardless of the nature of the experiments, the data collected will be deidentified at the data analysis stage. Hence, the data will be made anonymous and will not be attributed to an individual in any presentation or publication of results.
- The information you provide will be used by authorised staff for the purpose for which it was collected and may be shared with affiliated institutions for research purposes. It will not be transferred outside Australia unless to an entity operating under equivalent privacy obligations.
The University takes all reasonable steps to ensure that the information we hold is accurate and complete and that it is protected from misuse, loss, unauthorised access or disclosure. We will retain your personal information only for as long as required for the purpose it was collected and in accordance with our legislative obligations.
We will not disclose your personal information to anybody else unless you have given consent, or we are authorised or required to do so by law. You may request access to, or correction of, your personal information held by the University, or exercise data subject rights under the GDPR if applicable, by contacting Stop1 or by phoning 13 MELB (13 6352).
What is an economics experiment like?
Experiments can differ considerably. In most cases, each experimental session consists of between 10 and 30 participants. Upon entering the laboratory, you will be seated in your own cubicle. You will be asked to make a series of decisions, either on a computer in your cubicle or on a sheet of paper. These will lead to certain outcomes depending on the experiment, your decisions, and/or the decisions made by others within your group. You will be given detailed instructions about the setting and the type of decisions you will have to make. You will earn money according to these decisions.
What is the purpose of an economics experiment?
All experiments are conducted to collect data for scientific purposes. The aim is to understand the factors that influence decisions in economically relevant situations. The experimental results are summarised in articles published in scientific journals.
Do I need to know anything about economics?
No knowledge of economics or prior experience with experiments is necessary. You will only have to make simple decisions often via a computer terminal or on paper. The only requirement is that you are able to understand questions written in English and that you have basic mathematical skills (e.g., addition, multiplication etc.)
Who can register to participate in an economics experiment?
Anyone can take part in an experiment provided they have registered to be part of our E2MU database. No prior knowledge of economics is necessary. Participants must be at least 18 years old.
How can I participate in an economics experiment?
If you would like to participate in an economics experiment, please register here.
Do I have to show up when I am invited to participate in an experiment?
When you receive an invitation email from us, you will be informed which sessions you are eligible to participate in. To register for a session, you can click on the link provided in the invitation email and pick the session that you would like to attend. Once you have registered for a session you are required to show up for the experiment on time. Otherwise you will receive a “no-show” penalty.
How can I cancel my registration for an experiment?
Please ensure that you are available for an experiment before you register. After registering for a particular experiment session, if you are unable to attend due to unforeseeable circumstances, please email email@example.com to notify the researchers immediately. Participants who do not show up for the experiment on time or who cancel their registration within 1 hour prior to the start of the experiment will receive a “no-show” penalty.
I have registered for one experiment, but cannot register for any other session(s), as they disappeared. Why is this?
Each experiment often consists of several sessions (of the same experiment). You can only register for one session for each experiment. Once you have registered for a particular session, the other sessions will disappear from the list.
I see that there are sessions with free places in the calendar. Why am I unable to register for these sessions?
The E2MU server selects a random sub-pool of participants to invite to each experiment. This ensures that everyone in the database has a chance to participate in our experiments. If you see experiment sessions in the calendar that you are not able to register for, it is likely that you have not been randomly chosen to participate in that session.
Why have I not been invited to an experiment recently? Can I request to participate in an experiment?
No, you cannot ask us to participate in an experiment. We use a computerised system of recruitment which selects a random sub-pool of participants (sometimes according to certain criteria) from a subject pool of more than 9,000 people. Hence, you are unlikely to receive an invitation to every experiment that we conduct. It may take some time until you are randomly selected to participate in an experiment.
While some of the fields in the registration form are optional, you are more likely to receive an invitation if you fill out more fields on the form. Note that you will also not be selected to participate in an experiment if you have already participated in the same experiment before.
If I did not register for a specific experiment, can I still participate?
No, only those who have received an invitation to an experiment and who have registered for a session are allowed to participate in that session of the experiment.
How can I get my name removed from the E2MU server?
You can click the link at the bottom of every e-mail sent by our system to access your profile. Then you can unsubscribe yourself by clicking on ‘Unsubscribe’. Alternatively, you can e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org to request to be unsubscribed from our database.
During the experiment
Will I be paid to participate in experiments? If so, how much?
We pay each participant based on their decisions, the decisions of other participants, and the type of experiment. The average earnings of participants in a session may range between $15 and $30 per hour.
How long do experiments usually last?
The duration of each experiment differs. An experimental session can last between 30 minutes and three hours, or longer. Most experiments last between one and two hours.
Where do the experiments take place?
Most experiments take place in the Experimental Economics Laboratory in the Old Physics Building (click here for directions). You will be informed if a specific experiment is to take place in a different location. You will also be able to see the location details in the email inviting you to participate.
After the experiments
How is the privacy of my personal information ensured?
In most experiments, decisions will be made anonymously. However, in the rare occasion that the design of the experiment is such that your identity may be revealed to other participants, you will be informed and explicit consent will be sought. Regardless of the nature of the experiments, the data collected will be deidentified at the data analysis stage. Hence, the data will be made anonymous and will not be attributed to an individual in any presentation or publication of results.
Moreover, in order to conduct experiments, the researchers are required to have approval from a human ethics committee. In accordance with this approval, your personal information will not be disclosed to a third party without your explicit consent prior to the experiment.
Where can I find out more about the results of the economics experiments that I have participated in?
Articles summarising experimental results are published in international peer-reviewed journals. After you have participated in an experiment, you may contact the researchers to request a copy of the article (once it is published) by sending an e-mail to email@example.com.
On my participant profile, why are there three question marks after some experiments in the "Experiments you participated in"?
We need some time to update the E2MU database after conducting each experiment. Until then, there will be three question marks as the “show-up” status for an experiment. When the data is updated, the status will change to either “yes” or “no” depending on whether you have shown up for the session.
The Department of Economics at the University of Melbourne conducts a regular seminar series on Experimental and Behavioural Economics. We invite speakers who work on experiments of all kinds as well as behavioural economics theory and applications.
Seminars take place on Thursdays from 11 am to 12:15 pm fortnightly (with some exceptions). The seminar is open to all researchers in the Melbourne area who are interested in the topic. To join our email list please go to ee-seminar-unimelb and join our google group.
To schedule a meeting with a speaker please click on the event in the calendar and follow the link.
The organizers of the 2019 seminar series are:
For any enquiries, please contact the laboratory manager (Dr Aaron Kamm).
- Phone: (03) 8344 3489
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The economics experimental laboratory is located in Room 119 of the Old Physics building at the University of Melbourne’s Parkville campus.
The easiest way to get to the laboratory is to use the stairway from Deakin Court, which is located opposite the Union House (see picture at right).
Please note that there is no lift in the Old Physics building. Unfortunately, the only way to access the laboratory is via stairs which may present accessibility issues for some participants.