Current research projects


  • A comparison of forecasting performances and systemic risk across different political environments- American Journal of Finance and Accounting, In press.

State-Based Research

  • Regulatory Reform
  • Freedom Audit
  • State Migration study

Academic Research

  • Policy

Lab Research

  • In-group and Out-group preferences
  • Group formation and voting
  • Risk Preferences and changes during COVID-19
  • Information acquisition under different scenarios
  • Agglomeration

Economic Experiments

In their research, economists sometimes identify a real-world event that created a situation resembling an experiment. For example, Card and Kreuger (1993)  study workers' prospects in New Jersey following an increase in the minimum wage (which constitutes the study's treatment group), compared to workers in nearby Pennsylvania (used as the study's control group). These naturally-occurring experiments are extremely important to inform economic policy, and faculty members of the Menard Family Initiative often study such "natural experiments." As with all research methodologies, natural experiments have caveats. Treatment and control groups are not blindly assigned, and these groups of participants often interact in myriad ways, which complicates analysis.

Many of the Menard faculty use economic experiments to answer their research questions. An experiment, often referred to as a randomized controlled trial (RCT), assigns consenting participants to a treatment condition or a control condition at random. A well-designed experiment can then compare behavior and outcomes between these two conditions, allowing the economist to find evidence regarding their research question. Experiments permit rigorous tests of existing microeconomic theory, as well as the exploration of new ideas.

Experimental economics differs from other experimental social sciences with its use of real stakes. That is, participants in economic experiments are generally compensated with money for their participation. Further, participants in economic experiments generally make decisions that have consequences for their monetary payment. Experiments can involve interactions with other participants or groups of participants (sometimes in a "market" context). Menard faculty recruit participants for their experiments on the web from a broad participant pool. We also hope to recruit students for in-person experiments in the near future.

Finally, Menard faculty often use economic experiments as a way to help teach economics. In-class experiments can help students understand difficult concepts or intricate interactions that are otherwise difficult to grasp. In-class experiments may also use either hypothetical (unpaid) or real (paid) monetary incentives.