ECPR

Install the app

Install this application on your home screen for quick and easy access when you’re on the go.

Just tap Share then “Add to Home Screen”

ECPR

Install the app

Install this application on your home screen for quick and easy access when you’re on the go.

Just tap Share then “Add to Home Screen”

Back to Panel Details
Back to Panel Details

Introduction to z-Tree, a Software Package for Designing and Implementing Laboratory Experiments

Wolfgang Luhan
wolfgang.luhan@port.ac.uk

University of Portsmouth

Wolfgang Luhan is a Senior Lecturer in Economics and Finance at Portsmouth Business School. Previously he was director of the Bochum Lab for Experimental Economics (RUBex) and the MSW-Lab in Oldenburg.

His research focuses on behavioural (macro) economics, bargaining, voting behaviour, and behavioural finance. Wolfgang has been doing experimental research since 2004 and has taught numerous classes on experimental research methods.


Course Dates and Times

Course Dates and Times

Friday 3 March: 13:00-15:00 and 15:30-17:00
Saturday 4 March: 09:30-12:00 and 13:00-14:30
7.5 hours over two days

Prerequisite Knowledge

Knowledge of standard game-theoretic concepts and experimental methods is helpful but no pre-condition.


Short Outline

z-Tree. The “Zurich Toolbox for Ready-made Economic Experiments” was developed for the design and implementation of experiments and surveys in the lab as well as online. I will introduce the structure of the software and how to use it as an editor as well as a user. I cover individual decision making as well as simultaneous and sequential structures for symmetric and asymmetric games. This course does NOT cover methodological aspects or experimental design, we focus solely on the programming side of laboratory experiments.


Long Course Outline

z-Tree (Zurich Toolbox for Readymade Economic Experiments) is a software for laboratory experiments in social sciences. This software package was created to develop, program and implement experimental designs in a laboratory environment or via the internet. Based on C++, the software is intended for researchers without any programming background. Features that are frequently needed in experimental designs are predefined and can easily be combined using a simple menu structure. Among these features are communication structures between participants, graphical interfaces, automatic calculation of payoffs and many more. New experiments can be developed with low marginal effort. A public good experiment, for instance, can be programmed within an hour. The software works also as a lab-server that can be used to simply and efficiently implement the previously created designs. Though working with predefined elements, the software is incredibly flexible allowing more advanced unlimited possibilities for experimental design or screen layout.

The aim of this module is to provide a short but thorough introduction to the software. We will cover the theoretical basics of the software and its mode of operation. The participants will learn all steps necessary to design and implement experiments hands-on in small groups. As the only way of learning how to use a software is by actually using it, a large part of the course will be devoted to practical exercises. We start with simple experimental structures with homogeneous players and simultaneous actions. As we progress to more complex structures we learn how to implement conditional execution of calculations and conditional screen design. Apart from complex settings we will also look into complex layouts and screen designs, e.g., converting numbers into text or changing the interface from text-based to buttons, menus, or sliders.

After this module the participants will be able to design and implement their own experiments, covering a wide range of possible applications and be able to use the software for more sophisticated designs.

Day Topic Details
Friday Afternoon 1. Introducing z-Tree 2. Licensing 3. Installation 4. Example: public goods game 5. Connecting clients 6. Testing your program

After an introduction we will start hands-on spending the whole session on programming a public goods game and testing the newly created program.

Saturday Morning 7. Symmetric games 8. Asymmetric games

We learn more about the structure of the software and how to create experiments with symmetric and asymmetric players We will again work on several examples.

Saturday Afternoon 9. Elements of the treatment 10. Simultaneous sequential games

We continue with theoretic input before working on more programming examples for the most complex experimental structure.

Friday 1. Introducing z-Tree 2. Licensing 3. Installation 4. Example: public goods game 5. Connecting clients 6. Testing your program After an introduction we will start hands-on spending the whole session on programming a public goods game and testing the newly created program.
Saturday morning 7. Symmetric games 8. Asymmetric games We learn more about the structure of the software and how to create experiments with symmetric and asymmetric players We will again work on several examples.
Saturday afternoon 9. Elements of the treatment 10. Simultaneous sequential games We continue with theoretic input before working on more programming examples for the most complex experimental structure.
Day Readings
Friday

For this course, participants will have to read parts of the z-Tree Manual in preparation before the respective sessions. There will be programming exercises as “homework” for each day.

z-Tree Manual, sections 1 to 3.2

Saturday

z-Tree Manual, sections 3.3 to 3.5

Note For this course, participants will have to read parts of the z-Tree Tutorial in preparation before the respective sessions. There will be programming exercises as “homework” for each day. z-Tree Tutorial, sections 1 to 3.2
Friday z-Tree Tutorial, sections 1 to 3.2
Saturday z-Tree Tutorial, sections 3.3 to 3.5

Software Requirements

Zurich Toolbox for Readymade Economic Experiments – z-Tree version 3.5.1 (citeware, we will discuss the terms of use during the course).

Hardware Requirements

At least one machine per two participants and a shared network drive.

Literature

 

Fischbacher, U., Bendrick, K., Schmid, S., z-Tree 3.5 - Tutorial and Reference Manual, http://www.ztree.uzh.ch/static/doc/manual.pdf, 20th of February, 2015

Fischbacher, U. (2007). z-Tree: Zurich Toolbox for Ready-Made Economic Experiments. Experimental Economics 10(2), p. 171-178.

Many useful hints, sample treatments, tutorials and the like can be found on the z-Tree website http://www.iew.uzh.ch/ztree/index.php and in the z-Tree wiki https://www.uzh.ch/iew/ztree/ssl-dir/wiki/

Recommended Courses to Cover Before this One

<p>Summer School - Research Design Fundamentals, Introduction to Game Theory Experimental Methods</p> <p>Winter School - Research Design Fundamentals, Experimental Methods</p>

Recommended Courses to Cover After this One

<p>Summer School - Introduction to STATA, Multiple Regression Analysis</p> <p>Winter School - Introduction to STATA, Quantitative Social Research using Stata, Multiple Regression Analysis</p>


Additional Information

Disclaimer

This course description may be subject to subsequent adaptations (e.g. taking into account new developments in the field, participant demands, group size, etc). Registered participants will be informed in due time.

Note from the Academic Conveners

By registering for this course, you confirm that you possess the knowledge required to follow it. The instructor will not teach these prerequisite items. If in doubt, contact the instructor before registering.