• „(Keine) Experimente“ - Quelle: Bundesarchiv, Plak 104-TA4089-059

  • Computer lab Frankfurt

  • Bags from a field experiment in Burkina Faso

  • Computer lab Frankfurt

  • Lab-in-the-field experiment in Ethiopia

Welcome to the Frankfurt Laboratory for Experimental Economic Research

The Frankfurt Laboratory for Experimental Economic Research (FLEX) is a research center at the Faculty of Economics and Business Administration at Goethe University Frankfurt. It was founded in 2008 and is located on Campus Westend. FLEX also maintains a field office in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. FLEX has been financially supported by a starting grant from the Alfons und Gertrud Kassel-Stiftung.

FLEX takes up a long tradition in experimental economics at Goethe University starting with the pioneering work of Nobel laureate Reinhard Selten and Heinz Sauermann in the late 1950s. Further contributors who worked in Frankfurt include Reinhard Tietz and Werner Güth.

Researchers at FLEX study human behavior and decision making in social and economic contexts employing experimental methods. We conduct experiments in the laboratory, via the Internet, and in the field. The purpose of experiments is manifold and ranges from testing economic theories, to the elicitation of preferences as well as policy and impact evaluations. Current research conducted at FLEX covers different areas including behavioral economics, development economics, organizational and personnel economics, and finance.

New Book

Investors and Exploiters in Ecology and Economics: Principles and Applications

Luc-Alain Giraldeau, Philipp Heeb, Michael Kosfeld (Editors)

Strüngmann Forum Reports, Vol. 21, Julia Lupp, Series Editor
MIT Press, 2017


In the natural world, some agents (investors) employ strategies that provide resources, services, or information, while others (exploiters) gain advantages through these efforts. This behavior coexists and can be observed in many species and at many levels. For example, bacteria depend on the existence of biofilms to synthesize constituent proteins; cancerous cells employ angiogenesis to feed a tumor; and parents forgo vaccinating their children yet benefit from herd immunity. Two independent research traditions have developed to analyze this behavior—one couched in evolutionary theory championed by behavioral ecologists, the other in social science concepts advocated by economists. In this book experts from economics, evolutionary biology, behavioral ecology, public health, and anthropology look for commonalities in understanding and approach.

New Papers

Gender differences in motivational crowding out of work performance

Benndorf Volker, Rau Holger, Sölch Christian

Forthcoming in: Economic Inquiry (2018)


This paper shows that prior financial incentives induce a crowdingout effect when incentives are discontinued. In our realeffort experiment workers receive a piece rate before monetary incentives are substituted by a onetime payment. In this case, workers' performance significantly drops when receiving the onetime payment. The effect is driven by a fraction of men who reduce effort substantially, whereas women constantly perform well. We find that this motivational crowdingout effect disappears when men do not have prior experience of a piece rate. In a series of control treatments, we discard several alternative explanations besides motivational crowding out. (JEL C91, J16, M54)

Perturbed best response dynamics in a hawk–dove game

Benndorf Volker, Martínez-Martínez Ismael

Economics Letters, 2017, 153, 61–64.


We examine the impact of behavioral noise on equilibrium selection in a hawk–dove game with a model that linearly interpolates between the one- and two-population structures in an evolutionary context. Perturbed best response dynamics generates two hypotheses in addition to the bifurcation predicted by standard replicator dynamics. First, when replicator dynamics suggests mixing behavior (close to the one-population model), there will be a bias against hawkish play. Second, polarizing behavior as predicted by replicator dynamics in the vicinity of the two-population model will be less extreme in the presence of behavioral noise. We find both effects in our data set



Voluntary disclosure of private information and unraveling in the market for lemons: An experiment
Benndorf Volker

Games 2018, 9(2), 23;


We experimentally analyze a lemons market with a labor-market framing. Sellers are referred to as “workers” and have the possibility to provide “employers” with costly but credible information about their “productivity”. Economic theory suggests that in this setup, unraveling takes place and a number of different types are correctly identified in equilibrium. While we do observe a substantial degree of information disclosure, we also find that unraveling is typically not as complete as predicted by economic theory. The behavior of both workers and employers impedes unraveling in that there is too little disclosure. Workers are generally reluctant to disclose their private information, and employers enforce this behavior by bidding less competitively if workers reveal compared to the case where they conceal information



The Willingness to Sell Personal Data

Benndorf Volker, Normann Hans-Theo

Scandinavian Journal of Economics, 2018, 120 (4), 1260-1278.


We assess the willingness of individuals to sell personal data in laboratory experiments. Our experiments are novel in that they are incentivized, the focus on privacy issues is salient, and the use of the data is transparent and unambiguous. We find considerable heterogeneity in the data. Roughly one in six participants refuse to sell personal data at all and a similar fraction sell their data for 2.50 euros or less. Our results contrast with those from hypothetical questionnaires. Those willing to sell, request, on average, 15 euros for their contact details and 19 euros for their Facebook data.