Simulations in Principles of Microeconomics

Henry B. Tippie College of Business

Iowa Electronic Markets (IEM) is an online futures market where contract payoffs are based on real-world events such as political outcomes (including the US Presidential election), companies' earnings per share (EPS), and stock price returns. It is run as a non-profit educational and research project by faculty at University of Iowa, Henry B. Tippie College of Business. Most of the markets use real money, although there is a free practice market. The site includes instructor resources, research papers based on their experience and a trader's manual.

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Farmersi is a business game in which players manage their virtual farms in the Wild West - they grow crops, raise cattle and make investments. Individual games are 1-15 players at a time and last for 6-17 turns, with turns calculated every 4 or 8 minutes, 12 hours or 24hours. It is a basic simulation of business skills and how economies and markets function. Farmersi is entirely browser based and does not require the downloading of any software.

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A set of interactive games that are played in the browser. The tutor selects a game and chooses the number of players, then is given unique logins to distribute to learners. One game - an airline pricing game - is played against the computer: in the rest, learners play against each other.

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Bullbearings Ltd.

Ad-supported site providing a fantasy share-trading game, with supporting materials. Participants have a virtual 100,000 pounds to invest in shares which are priced using real data from the London Stock Exchange. It has already been used by thousands of learners in UK schools and universities.

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Moblab, Inc.

A set of configurable, graphically appealing, online interactive games that work across laptops, iOS (Apple) and Android devices. Instructors can customise the games, or use default settings, and students join by entering a class code. The instructor gets a graphical analysis of outcomes immediately at the end of the session, for use in class discussion. The site has course guides that suggest how to sequence the games in different Economics courses, and each game has references to relevant papers. The site's apps can also be used to administer individual survey or assessment questions online.

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IndustryMasters is a server-based, real-time business simulation. In this simulation/business game, players invest in a wide variety of businesses with virtual capital; they then have to design pricing, marketing, HR, sustainability and other strategies to generate profits, shareholder value and grow their share price, so practice can be extended. Anyone can join and play for free, but or academics and corporate education programs, site licences are available, with specially customised private worlds, where macroeconomic scenarios can be developed and played out depending on specific needs. Main economic principles built into the model include: Industry Competition, Market Crowding and Real Life Business Dynamics; Supply and Demand, Price Mechanism and Perfect Market modelling; Product Life Cycle, Economies of Scale and Scope; Corporate and Business Unit Strategy; Porter's 5 Forces and Generic Strategies; Benchmarking concepts Although the public game is a US dollar based game, UK sterling accounting versions are available on request.
Stock Market Game
The Stock Market Game is produced by the Foundation for Investor Education, and supported by more than 650 securities firms. It is a dedicated educational stock market game, primarily aimed at US schools. The game can be played using a Javascript-enabled web browser. Games run over set time periods, and there are separate divisions for adults and school teams. Players are given a notional 100,000 dollars to invest. The site includes a section for teachers' resources.
Alessandro Borgia
This is a free online market game, aimed at schools, in which each turn takes a week and represents a year of business time. It runs entirely in a web browser, although you can download an Excel spreadsheet to help you calculate your team's budget. Taking a turn involves managing a group of companies; deciding how to spread investment and whether to scale up or down production in various sectors. An economic bulletin shows the supply, demand and prices in each market.
Steven Gold, Rochester Institute of Technology

Beat The Market Online contains simulation games and exercises designed to teach Principles or Introductory level Microeconomics as well as Managerial Economics. The goal is to maximize profits in one or more of the market structures including Perfect Competition, Monopoly, Monopolistic Competition or Oligopoly. Accompanying exercises cover a range of topics including market equilibrium, demand, elasticity, production, costs, and revenue maximization. The simulation games and exercises are all automatically graded and provided to the Instructor online with progress reports. An online consultant helps guide students. Students may compete against each other or computer managed firms as individuals or in teams. The simulation manages the entire process for the Instructor. Learning levels enables the Instructor to teach either principles or introductory economics by limiting the number of decisions to four or less. Data from the simulation, both cross sectional and time series, can be exported to Excel.

Severin Borenstein, University of California, Berkeley
This game software and accompanying website are free to use for lecturers. The game "is a simulated market environment in which up to eight teams each compete in any of four markets, choosing which market(s) to enter, how much production capacity to build, what prices to charge, and how much output to produce. The markets differ in their fixed versus marginal costs of production, sunk entry costs, size, degree of product differentiation, growth rates, and storage characteristics. Each firm knows its own costs in each market and the distribution from which all firms' costs are drawn. The Game is useful for teaching basic economic concepts such as sunk, fixed, and marginal costs, the opportunity cost of investment, firm- and market-elasticities of demand, and product differentiation. It also is immediately applicable to discussions of entry deterrence, first-mover advantages, preemption, competitive advantage, predation, oligopoly coordination, multimarket contact, signalling, information asymmetries, and end game issues in finitely repeated games."

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