Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Economics (PhD)

Degree Level





Andrea Civelli

Committee Member

Cary Deck

Second Committee Member

Andy Brownbeck


This dissertation examines two prominent macroeconomic models and their behavioral underpinnings in a laboratory setting. The first is that of state-dependent pricing models (i.e., “menu cost” models). Comparisons were made between laboratory results and a computer- simulated optimal behavior, and results indicate that subjects update prices too frequently resulting in statistically suboptimal profits due to subjects’ inability to clearly ascertain the optimal threshold at which to update prices. Second, the consumption predictions made under rational inattention theory were examined via a laboratory experiment. Results indicate that subjects’ behavior aligns well with predictions in that they consume stochastically, yet adjust their consumption and attention according to variations in the economic environment. Subjects also respond more quickly and in higher magnitude to negative income shocks compared to positive. Finally, the experiments provided two use cases that enabled the evaluation of how coding environments and demands on versatility of laboratory of experiments have evolved. Performance comparisons were made between two novel coding environments and the most commonly used experimental platform, z-Tree. Results indicate that while environments other than z-Tree oer substantially more flexibility and performance enhancements, these benefits can come at the cost of nontrivial software engineering resources.