Learning and Experimental Economics Projects (LEEPS)

Nature of Research/Program Description: 

LEEPS is located in the Economics Department at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Among the world's many centers for conducting laboratory experiments in economics with paid human subjects, LEEPS is notable for three things:

1. Its early origins. LEEPS (Learning & Experimental Economics Projects) began operation in 1986 with the Double Auction Asset Market, the world's second fully computerized market system. (PLATO at the University of Arizona and the University of Indiana was the first and now there are hundreds including major financial market systems.)

2. Its modest size. Since 2004, the lab has occupied a dedicated space with 16 workstations. The annual output from LEEPS has increased from one or two series of experiments to four or five.

3. Its emphasis on the learning processes used by human subjects. Always informed by optimization/equilibrium theory, the projects at LEEPS usually emphasize the underlying adjustment processes. 

Undergraduate students work with faculty and graduate students in either (a) writing computer programs to conduct human subject experiments in LEEPS or (b) helping to conduct experiments, to analyze the data, and to prepare documents reporting the results. There is the opportunity for students to do independent projects that can lead to senior theses and publications.

Keywords: economics; computer programming, human experiments; data analysis; independent projects; thesis; social science research; on-campus; summer; fall quarter; winter quarter; spring quarter

Contact: Kristian Lopez Vargas

Targeted Students: 
Undergraduates with the desire to learn the necessary skills.
Program Time Period: 
All Year
Academic Credit
Application Deadline: 
Contact the program for more information.
Approximate Number of UCSC Students (Each Year): 
Year Began: 
Kristian Lopez Vargas
Contact Email: 
Participant Follow-up: 

Information on past students.

Business Management Economics
Computer Engineering
Computer Science
Computer Science: Computer Game Design
Electrical Engineering
Global Economics
Network and Digital Technology
Robotics Engineering
Technology and Information Management