For information, upcoming dates, and how to apply for these workshops, please visit: Vernon L. Smith High School Workshops at the Chapman University Website
For over a decade, the Vernon L. Smith High School Workshop in Experimental Economics has offered students the opportunity to approach economics from a perspective that is both modern and traditional. Students are treated to hands-on demonstrations of economic dynamics in the form of innovative economic experiments which leverage the latest in computer technology to immerse participants in the environments and institutions that are merely described in textbooks and traditional lectures. At the same time, though, these experiments help to frame the wisdom of venerable economic thinkers that are typically given short shrift in modern economics classrooms – in particular, the works of Adam Smith, David Hume, and Friedrich Hayek.
Daily, the one-week summer workshop is broken into three primary components: experiment, debriefing lecture, and discussion. Group coursework allows students to further explore the implications of the economic principles described.
The workshop week begins by establishing the distinction between impersonal and personal exchange. Students explore impersonal exchange by partipating in several experiments including the oral double auction (an experiment which illustrates the concept of comparative advantage and exchange), the asset market bubble experiment, and several single-seller auctions. Personal exchange is illuminated through examples of normal- and extensive-form games.
Students report leaving the workshops with a far richer understanding of the broad reach of modern economic methods and the historical context in which new research proceeds today. Even students who have already been exposed to traditional courses in economics leave the workshops with a new appreciation of the power of economic ideas, old and new, to help make sense of their own lives and the lives of others. “Awesome!” and “Thank you!” resound loud and clear in workshop feedback!