Traditionally, empirical economic research investigated the behaviors and decisions of market participants using “naturally occurring” or especially collected survey data. However, this often has the disadvantage that the effects of different influencing factors on the observed behaviors are mixed up and difficult to separate. Furthermore, survey data rather often are biased because the stated and real behaviors are not necessarily identical. Experimental research is attempting to solve these problems. In experiments, test subjects are placed in strictly controlled situations, where their decisions are observed in order to carefully examine causal relationships and their level of impact.
In order to control the environment in such experiments as best as possible, they are conducted in in experimental laboratories. These labs are usually equipped with isolated computer workstations where the test subjects have to make their decisions. A network of computer workstations and special software also enable interaction between the participants.
Today, lab experiments are well established and and used widely in many scientific disciplines. Especially those disciplines, which could be subsumed under the term Behavioral Science, often draw on behavioral and decision experiments in labs.
The NIM Market Decision Lab Network is a network consisting of three experimental laboratories: a mobile experimental lab in Nuremberg and two labs abroad that are jointly established with the University of Pretoria and the Business School of the Central University of Finance and Economics (CUFE) in Beijing.