book banner img

Experimental Economics

Experimental Economics

A branch of economics called experimental economics studies human behavior in a controlled laboratory setting or in the field, as opposed than modeling it mathematically.


Using scientific experiments, experimental economics tests economic theories, alternative market mechanisms, and what choices people make in particular circumstances.


Jeremiah Hurley

Dean of Social Sciences | Director McMaster Decision Science Laboratory (McDSL) | Professor Economics


I am Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences; a professor and former Chair in the Department of Economics; a member of the Centre for Health Economics and Policy Analysis, and an associate member of the Department of Health Research Methods, Evidence, and Impact (HEI), all at McMaster University.


My research on the economics of health and health care systems includes physician behaviour, funding models and resource association in health care, public and private roles in health care financing, financial incentives in health systems, equity in health systems, normative frameworks in health economics, and the application of experimental economic methods in health research.


I have publications in leading health economic, health policy, and health services research journals and have acted as a consultant to regional, provincial, national and international agencies. I am the author of the Canadian health economics textbook, Health Economics.

Bradley Ruffle 

Academic Director, McMaster Decision Science Laboratory (McDSL) | Professor

I am a behavioural and experimental economist. Broadly speaking, my research interests revolve around understanding human decision-making in economically interesting, usually strategic, situations.


Some of the specific questions my research addresses include:

  • What types of group rituals promote in-group cooperation?
  • Are large industrial buyers able to counteract monopoly power?
  • Are physically attractive job candidates more likely to be hired?
  • Can insurance companies pre-fill fields on a claims form to reduce insurance fraud?
  • Do people actually make the same labour-leisure and purchase choices when faced with theoretically equivalent taxes?
  • Why do people still give in-kind gifts rather than cash or gift cards?

One current research project explores whether better alternatives exist to the matching mechanism that university and college co-op programs employ to match students to jobs. Another project explores whether the people who pay more for insurance feel more entitled to cheat when filing an insurance claim.

Andrew Leal 

PhD Student