In this engaging game, students assume the role of Vikings who have returned to the medieval outpost of Birka to trade loot from villages they’ve plundered.  Playing cards represent the loot--spades, hearts, diamonds, and clubs.  To play effectively, students must use marginal analysis to determine whether prospective trades will benefit them, probe constantly for mutually beneficial exchanges that remain to be exploited, and bid more for cards that are relatively scarce.

This game demonstrates the advantages of price allocation over other methods.  Students are told that a hurricane has caused a major power outage.  This increases the equilibrium price of ice.  In the first round of the game, however, the price of ice is frozen at the pre-hurricane level and allocated on a first-come, first-served basis.  In the second round, the ice is allocated by price, with no waiting.  

This is a series of short classroom games that encourage students to apply the supply and demand model to labor markets.  The games are patterned after The Price is Right, a long-running game show on CBS that asks contestants to guess the prices of various goods.  In this version, students guess the median earnings of different occupations and predict which will grow the fastest.  It’s a fun way to acquaint students with different occupations and help them understand how earnings are related to training, talent, and other factors.  

This simulation demonstrates how the Fed can decrease or increase the money supply through open market operations, and how the banking system can create money in a fractional reserve system.  Students serve as bankers and members of the public and use balance sheets to record banking transactions through several rounds of loans and deposits.

This income distribution game is based on a thought experiment suggested by philosopher John Rawls.  Rawls asks us to imagine that members of a society are completely unaware of their endowments and place in society, a state he calls the “original position.”  While in such a state, people do not know if they will gain or lose from policies that promote equality.  According to Rawls, the social contract that would emerge from this process would be impartial and fair, and therefore ethical. 

This classroom simulation illustrates some basic principles of international finance.  Students are grouped into four countries, which are endowed with goods (candy), stock, and domestic currencies.  During a brief trading session, students can use their currency to buy domestic goods and assets, or they can convert it into foreign exchange and buy foreign goods and assets.  When the trading session ends, students use tables to record each country’s net exports, net foreign investment, foreign exchange transactions, and balances on current and capital accounts.   The tables demonstrate that net exports and net foreign investment are equal, and show the relationship between a country’s current account and capital account balances.  

 

Also see Games Economists Play, a collection of non-computerized games for college-level courses. 

 

 

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