García-Martínez, J.A, C. Gutiérrez-Hita, and J. Sánchez-Soriano
Revista internacional de Sociología – 70, extra 1 (2012).167-187
Abstract: We run a classroom experiment on oligopoly with students enrolled on basic and medium level microeconomics courses. Students compete in a symmetric quantity setting environment. The experiment runs over an entire academic semester and is divided into 20 one-week rounds. We want to explore whether the effect of knowledge and social interaction between players modifies the cooperative and competitive behavior observed in similar experiments run in a lab. Our hypothesis is that players are socially influenced. Hence, individuals adjust behavior in a dynamic way aimed at maximizing profits, but also according to social pressures. Overall, we obtain different learning processes across academic levels and also slightly different behavior from that predicted by economic theory. We argue that students’ utility function depends not only on profit levels but also on social relationships. Moreover, we believe that the effect of reputation plays an important role in our framework.