Handbook of Research Methods and Applications in Experimental Economics
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Handbook of Research Methods and Applications in Experimental Economics

Edited by Arthur Schram and Aljaž Ule

This volume offers a comprehensive review of experimental methods in economics. Its 21 chapters cover theoretical and practical issues such as incentives, theory and policy development, data analysis, recruitment, software and laboratory organization. The Handbook includes separate parts on procedures, field experiments and neuroeconomics, and provides the first methodological overview of replication studies and a novel set-valued equilibrium concept. As a whole, the combination of basic methods and current developments will aid both beginners and advanced experimental economists.
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Chapter 17: Software and laboratory organization

Joep Sonnemans and Ailko van der Veen

Abstract

We discuss the organization of an experimental economics laboratory, and the use of experimental software tools. We distinguish between “software tools” like z-Tree, oTree, PHP and JavaScript and “programs,” which are the actual programs (scripts) containing the logic of the experiment. First, we review the broader topic of laboratory organization and the (re-)use of programs (and protocols), focusing on the need for clear rules, the centrality of a logbook, and the availability of a central repository for programs and protocols. Then we review criteria to select software tools, discussing technical criteria like adaptability, and scalability, but also non-technical criteria like the usefulness of certain programming skills for PhDs leaving academia. Finally, we apply these criteria on three of the available software tools: o-Tree, z-Tree and standard internet programming tools, like PHP and JavaScript.

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