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Games For Teaching Economics

Games For Teaching Economics

Free, Ready to play, Nothing to install, No need to register! Each student plays online on his cell phone, tablet or laptop. Nicolas Gruyer, a former economics associate professor, has partnered with an experienced developer, Nicolas Toublanc, to develop the web-based market game airECONsim and games for teaching economics.

The objective of the game airECONsim is to illustrate as simply as possible the basic concepts and tools of industrial organization and microeconomics, through a game. In this simulation, players are responsible for managing the fleet and the pricing policy of virtual airlines competing over the same routes, and must adapt their strategies to a constantly changing environment (crises, airport congestion and regulatory changes, emergence of environmental constraints, development of a new aircraft, cost evolutions, new route openings).

The base game was intentionally kept as simple as possible, to be able to add more complex scenarios over it (for example about CO2 emissions permits markets, or studying collusion, barriers to entry, mergers, capacity auctions) without getting lost into details. Depending on the scenarios, the game can require between 3 hours to 20 hours.

economics games

The technical frame behind airECONsim made it possible to create a second site very fast, offering shorter games for teaching economics. These games are free, ready to play and there is no registration. Teachers simply choose the game they want to run, enter the number of players and the game can start. They just have to communicate their logins to the students and have them connect to the site with their phones, tablets or laptops. Of course, there is an administration interface to observe and debrief the game.

There are currently 12 games (between 10 minutes and 2 hours), including a few market games. The most elaborate game is a simplified and free version of airECONsim. Another game studies the impact of fixed costs and production capacities on prices and profits in an industry. A third game is a classic repeated prisoner’s dilemma. These games are:

  • Price discrimination and peak-load pricing.
  • Competition Game: Impact of fixed costs and capacity constraints on price and profits with differentiated goods.
  • Competition Game: Sunk costs, monopoly, and introduction to the Competition Game above.
  • Competition Game: Impact of fixed costs and capacity constraints on price and profits with homogenous goods.
  • Competition Game: Impact of the number of competitors on price and profits.
  • Voluntary contribution to a public good.
  • Prisoner’s Dilemma.
  • Team Costly Effort.
  • Heads Or Tails: Asymetric Zero-Sum Game.
  • Simultaneous Entry Game (repeated).
  • A Cournot game.
  • A Stackelberg game.

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This is a guest post from Nicolas Gruyer

Nicolas Gruyer specialized in Economics after aeronautical engineering studies at ISAE Sup’Aero. After completing a PhD in Economics at the University of Toulouse Capitole (also known as Toulouse School of Economics), he worked as a teacher and researcher at the french Civil Aviation National School (ENAC) for 10 years. During this period, he taught Microeconomics, Industrial Organization and Management Games at ENAC and Air Transport Economics at the Toulouse School of Economics. An important part of his teachings was based on economic experiments and games. Since 2012 he is creating games for teaching economics (projects and airECONsim).