Economics Games

Classroom Games For Teaching Economics

“Teaching Collective Action Problems without Contextual Bias: The Red/Green Simulation”

This week we are adding the Red/Green Simulation, by James R. Bruehler, Alan P. Grant, and Linda S. Ghent (Journal of Economics and Finance Education 2017).

The paper is available on the site of the (open access) journal, and the game is in the “externalities and public goods section” on our site.




Abstract of the paper:

“Collective action problems are at the heart of many economic issues. Often, students have trouble comprehending how society ends up with a less than optimal outcome, and may incorrectly assume that someone must want the outcome that occurs. Correcting this error is made difficult by the biases that students bring to these issues.
The Red/Green simulation demonstrates the tension between self-interest and the social good in a context-free manner allowing students to see that these sub-optimal outcomes may not be desired by anyone, but instead can result from unhealthy systems of incentives.”

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New: “The Carbon Trading Game”

This week, we are adding “The Carbon Trading Game” by Roger Fouquet (Climate Policy 2003), on our site, in the “Externalities and public goods” section.



Abstract of the paper:

“In response to the Kyoto Protocol, an international market for carbon dioxide tradable permits is likely to be created. Two of the key issues involved are explaining the concepts of tradable permits to industrialists, policy-makers and the man on the street, and anticipating how the market will evolve. A simple game of the market for carbon dioxide tradable permits has been developed and used that can help deal with both issues. As a pedagogical tool, this game benefits from simplicity (just a few pieces of paper are needed) and enables students to grasp the concepts and remember them through the intensity and fun of a trading ‘pit’. The experiences also provide substantial insights into the evolution of the carbon dioxide permit market, particularly related to the evolution of trade volume, permit prices and country strategies.”
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Mooc “Manage Your Prices: an Introduction to Pricing Strategy and Revenue Management”

A MOOC about Pricing and Revenue Management, by Christophe Bontemps, Nathalie Lenoir and ENAC, and involving some of our simulations, starts today on FutureLearn:



How do airlines, hotels, resorts and other organisations manage their prices? Why are these prices apparently unrelated to costs and different for each consumer? And what are the underlying reasons and processes behind these prices?

Open the black box of pricing strategy and revenue management

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“Patents and R&D: A Classroom Experiment”

This week, we are adding “Patents and R&D: A Classroom Experiment” by Amy McCormick Diduch ( International Review of Economics Education 2010), on our site, in the industrial organization section.



Abstract of the paper:

“Public policy towards patents has assumed a robust positive relationship between the strength of patent protection and the level of innovative research effort even though economic theory and empirical evidence suggest that the impact of patents on research varies considerably by industry.This classroom experiment provides students with an introduction to two competing models of the impact of patents on R&D: the ‘winner-take-all’ model contains incentives for excessive research effort and the ‘knowledge spillover’ model contains incentives for free riding. Class discussion explores potential changes to current patent policy and policy alternatives for stimulating R&D.”
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“When do first-movers have an advantage? A Stackelberg classroom experiment”


This week, we are adding “When do first-movers have an advantage? A Stackelberg classroom experiment”, by Robert Rebelein and Evsen Turkay (JEE 2016), on our site, in the industrial organization section.




Abstract of the paper:

“The timing of moves can dramatically affect firm profits and market outcomes. When firms choose output quantities, there is a first-mover advantage, and when firms choose prices, there is a second-mover advantage. Students often find it difficult to understand the differences between these two situations. This classroom experiment simulates each scenario in a way that makes it easy for students to understand the theoretical reasons for the different possible outcomes. The authors have developed a two-firm classroom experiment where students first play a Stackelberg game in which firms sequentially choose production quantities and then a Stackelberg game in which firms sequentially choose prices. When choosing quantities, it is advantageous to move first, and when choosing prices, it is advantageous to wait.”

(JEE 2016: )


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