Experiments with Dough


UChicago Magazine, May-June 2009



There is no such thing as a free lunch, any economist—behavioral or neoclassical—will tell you. And yet there it is, on the back table of the Goldman Sachs Lecture Hall: leftover pizza from a Chicago Booth career event. Many of the 65 students in the three-hour class Using Experiments in Firms recognize the opportunity to free-ride and quietly help themselves.

At 1:32 John List claps his hands three times to get his students’ attention. Behind him Steven Levitt transcribes midterm scores onto the white board. Both professors are dressed business-casual: List in a black V-neck sweater and white T-shirt, Levitt in a light-green button-down tucked into gray slacks. Economics faculty members, they are teaching their first course at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. “Sorry we’re a tad late,” says List. “We have been ferociously reading, grading, and curving the exam.”

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