Welcome to the Aton Experimental Economics Laboratory

Last Updated: 5th August 2009

The Aton Experimental Economics Laboratory (AEELab) is an independent laboratory providing a range of consulting, software and business services around providing the expertise and infrastructure for experimental economics. 

Experimental economics is a branch of economics looking at how real people behave within economic systems, typically by implementing an economic system in a computer lab, and using real people as participants.

The AEELab provide lab support services and experimental software for a number of groups in Australia and overseas, including working with groups based at:

  • The Interdisciplinary Centre for Economic Science (ICES) at George Mason University
  • CSIRO Sustainable Ecosystems in Canberra
  • The University of Canberra
  • The Australian National University
  • The University of Sydney

About the AEELab

The parent company of the AEELab is Aton Consulting Pty Ltd, which is a specialist consulting firm in the environmental and energy markets that has been operating since 1996.  In 2006 and 2007 Aton operated the SIRCA Experimental Economics Lab (SEELab) in a joint venture with the university owned Securities Industry Research Centre of Asia-Pacific (SIRCA).  By mutual agreement this JV ended in 2007 and all materials and contracts previously conducted by SEELab have been transfered to the AEELab.

The owner and director of Aton Consulting is Dr. Karel Nolles. 

Karel became involved in experimental economics during his PhD research work commencing in the late 1990's.  He  worked as an academic for a number of years, including with the University of New South Wales (Senior Research Fellow in the Faculty of Commerce and Economics) and as a visiting research fellow with the ICES experimental economics labs at George Mason University.

The AEELab currently employees 8 staff, mostly with an IT focus, who develop experiments and related materials for our clients. We also have a number of fellow academics and other researchers who frequently collaborate with us on experimental economics based work.  Some of the resulting research is available under "papers"

Karel is currently employed full-time as an Associate Director in the Utilities and Climate Change team at Macquarie Capital in Sydney, and is an Adjunct Senior Lecturer at the University of Sydney in the discipline of Agricultural and Resource Economics, and is a member of the Resources Energy and Environmental Markets Lab (REEML) at the university.

What is Experimental Economics ?

Experimental economics is the application of laboratory methods to test the validity of various economic theories and to test bed new market mechanisms. Using cash-motivated participants, economic experiments create real-world incentives to help us better understand why markets and other exchange systems work the way they do.  We have listed some papers at the bottom of this page that provide more information about experimental economics as a discipline.

What does the AEELab provide ?

The AEELab exists to support consultants, researchers and academics to conduct and use experimental economics research.  We manage experimental economics lab facilities at a number of university campuses, and can provide easy access to labs and student participants for persons wishing to run experiments.  We also develop experiments to address specified research questions, and are a research facility in our own right, conducting experiments in respect of our research agenda.  Many of our working papers are available for download on the "papers" page.

In particular, the AEE Lab can provide:

  • Lab management and control software and systems

  • Hosting of experiments in other labs using our web based experiment management systems.

  • Development of experiments, drawing upon our software library of robust and running experiments.

  • Delivery of experiments via our existing labs.

How do I learn more ?

To discuss the activities of the Lab, please contact Karel Nolles:

More information about Experimental Economics ?

You may be interested to read the following materials at the Interdisciplinary Center for Economic Science at George Mason University.  ICES is headed by Professor Vernon Smith, who was the co-reciepient of the 2002 Nobel Prize for Economics, in recognition of his contributions to the field of Experimental Economics.

The links below take you to the ICES website.  The materials are ICES Copyright.

FAQ about Experimental Economics

FAQ about Experimental Economics

Economics in the Laboratory

V. Smith, (1994). "Economics in the Laboratory," Journal of Economic Perspectives 8(1), 113-131

Experimental Methods in Economics

V. Smith, (1987). "Experimental Methods in Economics," The New Palgrave: A Dictionary of Economics, John Eatwell, Murray Milgate, and Peter Newman

Microeconomic Systems as an Experimental Science

V. Smith, (1982). "Microeconomic Systems as an Experimental Science," American Economic Review 72(5), 923-955



Why is Market Design important to get right ???

Markets are frequently used to provide important public services - with the intention of driving efficency of delivery....   Are all markets equal for all policy problems?  The link below is to a Video Clip showing a fabulous market in operation.  (They should have asked us to test it first!!!)

Download here (Approx 4MB)





Experiment Calendars and Participant Registration

The AEELab provides a web based experiment scheduling service for a number of universities. If you are interested to participate in experiments, or to see the calendar of scheduled experiments on your campus, select your location from the list below.