Beyond Theory: Experimental

By Todd, Kristin | Baylor Business Review, Spring 2007 | Go to article overview

Beyond Theory: Experimental


Todd, Kristin, Baylor Business Review


Sometimes you have to see it to believe it.

That is exactly the premise behind the interactive teaching methods of several economics professors, whose classes embody active learning through direct application of lecture material and classroom interaction.

For students in Charles North's class, it's all in how you play the game.

"Game theory is a theoretical construct of how people interact," said North, associate professor of Economics, who teaches a game theory class complete with classroom interaction. "When students actually play these games in class, they see the theory in action-warts and all."

Game theory overlaps with behavioral economics and explains logistics of the market and how a person's strategic decisions may affect another's maximum payoff. North said that game theory occasionally produces poor predictions about people's behavior, and playing the games shows students why, in a way that classroom discussions cannot.

Several professors use experimental economics, which mimics the scientific method through the use of controlled variables. These interactive teaching methods are not without merit. Vernon L. Smith, who shared half of the 2002 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences, completed research over experimental economics to prove it as a sustainable method in economic analysis.

Understanding an economic theory is different than actually believing in the theory; therefore, don't be surprised to see paper airplanes flying around in Tisha Emerson's principles of microeconomics class. This is is not the action of misbehaving students, but an illustration of a production theory.

Emerson, assistant professor of Economies, uses interactive teaching methods such as the paper airplane experiment throughout the semester. Within each experiment, key variables of interest are changed in order to show their effects in markets.

"We don't discuss the theory before an experiment," Emerson said. "Through participation in and then discussion of the experiments, students see first-hand how the theory works. This type of teaching is also effective for class participation and interaction."

Another experiment Emerson usually conducts in her classes is a price control experiment, which shows how raising the minimum wage can lead to a higher unemployment rate.

"The students start to see trends through the experiments," she said. "If they remember participating in the experiment, then they recall the theory, and it boosts overall retention."

Emerson discussed experimental economics in a paper she co-wrote with colleague Beck Taylor (now dean of Sanford University School of Business) entitled, "Comparing Student Achievement across Experimental and Lecture-Oriented Sections of a Principles of Microeconomics Course," which was published in the Southern Economic Journal in 2004. Through extensive research, Emerson and Taylor found that students who completed experimental sections of a microeconomics class "experienced higher gains in Test of Understanding in College Economics (TUCE) scores but differed little on other qualitative outcomes" Compared to students who took traditional lecture-oriented classes.

"The use of games and experiments seems to be catching on as an effective teaching pedagogy," Emerson said.

Kimberiy Mencken, lecturer in Economics, uses a mix of experimental economics and game theory to explain corporate behavior in her microeconomics classes.

Mencken said she illustrates buyers and sellers through the selling of concert tickets. The students participate in continuous rounds of trading to reveal the trends of a realistic market. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Beyond Theory: Experimental
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.