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Classroom Games in Economics : A Quantitative Assessment of the `Beer Game'


  • McMahon, Michael

    (University of Warwick)


Using an experiment, I compare the use of the `Beer Distribution' classroom game with the more traditional `chalk and talk' approach to teach students about inventories and the macroeconomy. My empirical results confirm and extend our understanding of the relative strengths and weaknesses of the use of classroom games : the game tends to improve interest and motivation on average, though some students dislike their use ; the game is e ective at driving home its key messages, but it may wrongly lead students to disregard other important factors ; the game is inferior where facts mastery or definitional learning is required. Rather than an endorsement or a criticism of classroom games, the conclusion is cautionary advice on how to best make use of games within an overall course. Key words: Classroom experiments and games ; motivation ; student learning outcomes JEL classification: A22 ; C90

Suggested Citation

  • McMahon, Michael, 2011. "Classroom Games in Economics : A Quantitative Assessment of the `Beer Game'," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 964, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:wrk:warwec:964

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Gerling, Kerstin & Gruner, Hans Peter & Kiel, Alexandra & Schulte, Elisabeth, 2005. "Information acquisition and decision making in committees: A survey," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 21(3), pages 563-597, September.
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    3. Blinder, Alan S., 2007. "Monetary policy by committee: Why and how?," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 23(1), pages 106-123, March.
    4. Mark Harris & Paul Levine & Christopher Spencer, 2011. "A decade of dissent: explaining the dissent voting behavior of Bank of England MPC members," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 146(3), pages 413-442, March.
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    6. EllenE. Meade & David Stasavage, 2008. "Publicity of Debate and the Incentive to Dissent: Evidence from the US Federal Reserve," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 118(528), pages 695-717, April.
    7. Timothy Besley & Neil Meads & Paolo Surico, 2008. "Insiders versus Outsiders in Monetary Policymaking," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(2), pages 218-223, May.
    8. Christopher Spencer, 2006. "The Dissent Voting Behaviour of Bank of England MPC Members," School of Economics Discussion Papers 0306, School of Economics, University of Surrey.
    9. Alessandro Riboni & Francisco J. Ruge-Murcia, 2010. "Monetary Policy by Committee: Consensus, Chairman Dominance, or Simple Majority?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 125(1), pages 363-416.
    10. Peter Sorensen & Marco Ottaviani, 2000. "Herd Behavior and Investment: Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(3), pages 695-704, June.
    11. Petra Gerlach-Kristen, 2009. "Outsiders at the Bank of England's MPC," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 41(6), pages 1099-1115, September.
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    JEL classification:

    • A22 - General Economics and Teaching - - Economic Education and Teaching of Economics - - - Undergraduate
    • C90 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - General

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