The Handbook for Economics Lecturers

7. Conclusions

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We hope the above has whetted your appetite to start using economic classroom experiments as a tool for active student learning. We have discussed advantages and disadvantages and given a number of concrete hints. We would like to encourage you to try them even if you are in general somewhat sceptical of experimental research. See for yourself how a simple experiment can demonstrate to students that economics ‘works’. Discuss with your students what can and cannot be inferred from the experiments. You may at first decide to adapt only a small portion of your module in order to try out a single classroom experiment or a few short homework exercises. Even this, we think, is time well spent. 

We realise that a major cost to the instructor of using experiments is the uncertainty of how they will work and the fear that it will take significant effort to introduce them. It may seem easier to just keep using the same old teaching materials. We hope that the concrete examples in this handbook chapter will reduce the perceived cost and encourage you to get started.

If we have managed to convince you that the benefits outweigh the costs, then please contact us with any questions, suggestions or simply to report on your experience. Good luck!