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Price Gouging Simulation


Activity now available as a classroom exercise via Word Document

Classroom (Non-Computer Version)

Computer Version

Video Demonstration:

Due to the generosity of the Interdisciplinary Center for Economic Science(ICES), students and teachers have the opportunity to participate in activities based on economics experiments conducted by Nobel laureate Dr. Vernon Smith and his colleague, Dr. Bart Wilson. The Price Gouging Simulation involves students as buyers and sellers in a market for 2 products. The game begins during clear weather or “normal” market conditions, but demand changes in later rounds when a hurricane strikes.

To run the simulation, follow the installation instructions below (or enlist the aid of your school’s tech support professional), and download the files from the link in the box on the right of this screen.

1) Download the Price Gouging files to the computers you will be using in the experiment. http://www.chapman.edu/ESI/downloads/public/priceGougingFTE.exe

or try here if the above link is unavailable

2) Run the priceGougingFTE.exe file on each computer. Two “launch” short cuts will be installed on the Start menu of each computer.

Note that the computers must be networked. On the computer acting as the server, select “Launch Server” from the Start menu. This computer will run the game and must be logged on as an “Administrator.”

(If this is the first time you are running a firewall may prompt you allow/block the program (it would be good idea to have your lab manager present the first time you run since they will be most familiar the configuration of your computers). Make sure you press “allow,” as these programs will be using your network to communicate with each other.)

On the server program click the Load button and select one of the supplied parameter files and click Open.

3) On the other computers, select “Launch Client” from the start menu. As the Client launches, it will automatically connect to the server. Note the number of connections in the upper left corner of the server screen. The number should increase each time you launch another client.

The IP address and machine name for the server is located in the top middle portion of the first tab. IF prompted by the clients enter either the IP address or machine name of the server and click Connect. The client will store and attempt to connect with this information each time it is run. If the client is unable to store this information because of your lab has strict access privileges setup then you will have to enter this information every time you connect. Otherwise it will only prompt you for new info if it cannot connect. If the clients will not connect make sure there is not a firewall blocking access.

4) The number of clients that have been connected to the server is located in the top left corner of the screen. Once there are an appropriate number of connections click the Begin button and the experiment will start with the instructions.

5) Read the instructions aloud to the students. You control the pace of the instructions by clicking the << Back and Next >> buttons. Once you have finished with the instructions click the Start button and the experiment will begin.

6) At the end of each round the results will be displayed on the Results tab on the server. The supply and demand arrays will also be displayed on the Arrays tab.

7) Several rounds into the experiment the server will prompt you to explain transfer of B units. Sellers who sell units of type B will now be able to transfer units before each round between Town 1 and Town 2. If a unit is transferred that unit will incur an additional Transfer Cost displayed on the seller’s screens. The seller will only incur the cost if the transferred unit is sold. Sellers of type A will not be able to transfer.

8) At the end of the experiment the students will need to enter their name(s). Occasionally the box for them to enter their names will end up behind the main screen. Pressing Atl + Tab should bring it to the front.

9) Once everyone has entered their names (they will appear on the Main tab under Name) click the Reset button on the server. This should kill all of the clients. If any of the clients are still up after the server has been reset the clients can be killed manually by going the client computer, selecting the main screen and pressing Ctl + k.

10) To display the results to the students go the Results tab and click Load at the bottom left of the screen. Go into the datafiles folder in the server folder and select the appropriate datafile. A new data file will be created every time you run the experiment. It will have the date and time the experiment was started written into the file name itself. Your data file should be the one that was created most recently. Once you have found the appropriate one select it and click Open. The Results and Arrays tab should now display the results of your experiment. You can use the + and – buttons next the Round box to move from one period to the next.