How Can We Tell a Norm is Strong?

Norms or informal rules and expectations are all around us. Most of the time we don’t notice them until someone has violated them. For example, last year when I entered the bathroom I walked in and saw a long row of empty urinals. Suppose there were seven. I chose the center with three empty on […]

Experimental economist Vernon Smith receiving Julian L Simon Memorial Award

How a Simple Classroom Experiment Altered the Field of Economics

For most of the twentieth century, economics relied on “experiments that happen to occur” (Friedman, 1953, p. 10). But, something transformational happened in 1955 at Purdue University. A newly minted Assistant Professor named Vernon Smith, stressed with a 4-4 teaching load, had insomnia and reflected on an experiment he had participated in at Harvard. In […]

Screenshot of MobLab consumer choice cobb douglas game

Introducing our Consumer Choice Game

Economics is about getting the most out of life. To demonstrate this simple point I would tell students we are going to make some assumptions. To illustrate the first assumption (non-satiation) I would show the video, “I Want It All” by Queen. We are going to assume that people are never satiated. In other words, they […]

Teaching Tips: Writing Prompts

In recent years numerous studies demonstrate how games improve student performance. Nevertheless, there are important pedagogical practices an instructor can implement to boost the effectiveness of games in the classroom. One practice is having the students write reports about their participation in a game. Cartwright and Stepanova (2012) in the Journal of Economic Education test […]

balance between sustainability and customer satisfaction

MobLab Pricing Update

How it Began It started with a conversation a few months ago over coffee with Preston McAfee, the chief economist at Microsoft. He had just given a well attended seminar to the local tech community on pricing. Upon hearing the challenges MobLab had faced since we transitioned from a free to paid model at the […]

Public Goods

What is a public good? The definition of a public good is one that is “non-excludable” (i.e. individuals cannot be prevented from consumption) and “non-rivalrous (i.e. one person’s consumption does not reduce what is available for another to consume). Classic examples include radio signals, national defense, ideas, and fireworks to name a few. In 1919, […]

college classroom

Teaching Tips: Using MobLab in the Classroom

When designing games at MobLab we strive for fun, simplicity, and creating “Ah-Ha” moments for students. We want the games to be memorable and aid in discovery of economic lessons. However, that doesn’t mean games are a substitute for good teaching. Far from it. Our games are meant to complement good instruction. To get the […]