Seminar Series

The emergence of economics as a laboratory sciences


Charles Plott


California Institute of Technology

Time & Place

Sun, 08 Aug 2010 18:00:00 NZST in University of Canterbury


Professor Plott (Edward S. Harkness Professor of Economics and Political Science at the California Institute of Technology) is one of the world's foremost exponents of experimental economics. The Caltech laboratory he has developed is a major facility, serving as a model for laboratory development throughout the world. Professor Plott's lecture titled 'The emergence of economics as a laboratory science' explores the development of this exciting new methodology and illustrates its numerous applications to solving pressing economic and environmental problems.

Much of Professor Plott's research has focused on exploring ways of applying laboratory experimental methods to complex policy issues - for example, the problem of allocating land rights at the major airports. He was the first to apply such techniques to real world policy issues like regulation, deregulation and anti-trust. He has worked on policies for the allocation of resources on Space Station Freedom, the markets for emissions permits in southern California, pricing the use of natural gas pipelines, auctioning the right to use railway tracks and managing markets for electricity in California.

As well as contributing to some of the most fundamental discoveries in economics and political science, Professor Plott's Caltech laboratory has been a major producer of the technologies used in laboratory experimental methods, including the development of powerful networking tools and the internet technology for conducting large, worldwide experiments.

Professor Plott is a member of the National Academy of Science, the American Academy of Arts and Science and a Fellow of the Econometric Society. He is a Guggenheim Fellow, Fulbright Senior Scholar, and a Fellow of the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioural Sciences and he was recently elected as a Distinguished Fellow of the American Economic Association.