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Working Paper No. 09-04

A Comprehensive Experiment for an Introductory Course in Microeconomics
Charles de Bartolome
April 2009


I present a classroom experiment designed to help students learn (1) decision-making using marginal analysis; (2) the prediction of the price; (3) the decentralized determination of a price by the market; (4) specialization; (5) the gains from trade; and (6) the ability of a competitive market to create a Pareto-efficient outcome.  The innovation of the experiment lies in its comprehensiveness and in the identical opportunities faced by all students.

The experiment has two parts. There is a warm-up which is assigned as homework and the experiment proper which takes two 50-minute class sessions. I have run it in classes at the undergraduate introductory level, at the undergraduate intermediate level and at the MA introductory level; these classes have varied in size from 20 to 200 students.

JEL classification: A22, C92, D41
Keywords: Market, Experiment