Experimental and Behavioral Economics Lab

Experimental and Behavioral Economics Lab (EBEL) Group

Experimental and Behavioral Economics are relatively new fields within Economics. Economic experiments are human subject experiments in which human beings ranging from university students to CEOs make decisions in various controlled experimental environments. A key feature of experiments is that they involve financial compensation. Economic experiments allows us to study new economic instruments and policies, before they have been introduced and evaluate the result of changes to existing policies. They also allow us to understand how people's behavior changes over time, how people's attributes and traits impact their economic decision making and how human beings respond to change and behave in risky situations.

The popularity of economic experiments has opened up opportunities of collaboration with the field of psychology. This has led to the growth of the new field of Behavioral Economics that incorporates findings from psychology into economics, enriching the neoclassical economics model of decision-making and making it more realistic. The study of behavioral economics has provided insight into differences in the way that individuals perceive gains versus losses under conditions of risk and uncertainty, preferences for fairness, and biases in decision-making. Application of behavioral economic findings have provided ways to 1) increase retirement savings, 2) raise the percentage of people electing to be organ donors, 3) encourage people to make healthier food choices, and 4) reduce household energy and water consumption among others. 

The interest and popularity of these fields is highlighted by the award of the Nobel Prize in Economics to Vernon Smith, Daniel KahnemanElinor Ostrom and Al Roth and > and the election of the Richard Thaler as the President of the American Economic Association. Economic experiments are also a great way for students to obtain hands-on experience about different economic constructs and theories and obtain a clear insight about role of markets and government regulations on individual and group decision making. 

FAQs

Tell me more!

Throughout the school year, many faculty and students at the Department of Agricultural Economics conduct economic decision-making experiments as a part of their research. These experiments are run with UNL students. Whenever an experiment is scheduled, an email is sent to students providing them with relevant information about the study and information about the experimental session so that they can decide whether they want to participate or not. If students participate, they receive cash payments for their time commitment. 

How can I participate in an experiment?

In order to participate in an experiment, first register on our database by clicking Participate in an Experiment. Once you have registered with your email address and answered some questions, you will receive emails inviting you to participate in an experimental session.

Will you share my email address with third parties?

We will only use your email address for recruiting participants in experiments. Your email address will not be shared with anyone else.

What happens during these experiments?

The types of experiments will vary. The experiments typically involve some sort of decision-making exercise or possibly completing a survey. The decision making exercise usually takes place on a computer. But sometimes experiments may involve pen and paper too. All data collected in the experiments are strictly confidential and anonymous. So no decisions you make during the experiment can be linked to you.

Are there experiments risky?

There are NO RISKS associated with participation. Your participation in the experiments is voluntary. In the unlikely event that you are uncomfortable with some aspect of the experiment, you are free to leave at any time. Your leaving the experiment will not affect your relationship with the experimenter, your Department or UNL. 

How much will I earn?

You will be paid in cash at the end of the experiment. Typically, you will be paid a fee for showing up at the experimental venue ON TIME and have additional opportunity to earn more money during the experiment. Since experimental studies are different from each other, the exact value of these amounts will be provided to you during the study session itself. 

How long do the experiments last for?

It varies. The email will describe the time commitment for that particular experiment. Typically, an experiment lasts one to two hours. Some experiments may ask you to commit for longer periods of time. In that case you will be provided with all information necessary for you to make a decision about registering for the experiment. 

Where will the experiments be held? 

Experiments will usually be held in Experimental and Behavioral Economics Lab in Room 59 in Filley Hall Basement (the building with the Dairy Store) on East Campus. We will also conduct sessions on City Campus. Information about experiment venue will be provided to you in the emails inviting you to participate in a study. 

How frequently will I receive emails?

Email frequency will depend on how often we are running experiments to collect data. So there might be times when you don't receive any emails. However, there might be times during the semester when you get between two to five emails in a week. Please know that we will try to keep emailing to a minimum.

Some rules and guidelines

Each experimental session takes substantial time and money to set up and run. So if you sign up for a session, please try your level best to attend the session. In the event that you cannot make it, please let the experimenter know ASAP so that they can make alternative arrangements. If you signup and fail to arrive for a session multiple times, we will remove your name from our database and you will not be able to participate in the future. Also we ask you that you refrain from discussing the subject matter of the experiment with your friends and colleagues since they may also participate in future experiments. If you tell them what you did during the experiment, that may influence their behavior when they participate, proving problematic for our research. 

Participate in an Experiment

Here's the link to participate:

Research Activities

Dr. Emie Yiannaka

My research examines (1) optimal strategies of intellectual property (IP) protection for agri-food innovations, (2) consumer perceptions, attitudes and willingness to pay for these innovations and (3) the market and welfare impacts of policies that regulate their adoption and/or use. Research related to the above objectives with an EBE focus includes: (1) The development of a series of lab experiments to empirically test the theoretical predictions of models of patent licensing behavior. Specifically, using undergraduate students as subjects, interactive games were developed to examine how the decision to license a technology to a competitor is affected by factors like the nature of the bargaining process (one-shot or repeated), the nature of information available to the players (symmetric, asymmetric or incomplete) and the players cost structure (weak versus strong competitors). (2) The development of experimental surveys to examine the effects of different information framings and involvement elicitation on consumer perceptions, attitudes and willingness to pay for (i) food nanotechnology innovations that could enhance food safety and (ii) interventions that could reduce the prevalence of E.coli in the beef supply chain (e.g., vaccines and direct-fed microbials).

Teaching

 

 

Faculty

Affiliates

Contact:

EBEL Group Coordinator
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Department of Agricultural Economics
Email simanti.banerjee@unl.edu

Lab Locations:

University of Nebraska-Lincoln
East Campus - 59 Filley Hall (Basement) City Campus - 9046 Selleck Dining Hall (Basement)