This page presents information about the course, including a calendar.

Course Meeting Times

Lectures: 1 session / week, 2.5 hours / session

Recitations: 1 session / week, 1 hour / session

What is 14.11?

14.11 is a new class on the topic of field (that is, 'in situ') and laboratory experiments in the social sciences - both what these experiments have taught and can teach us and how to conduct them.

The class has three major components:

  1. In lecture, we will discuss (and you will read research papers on) 12 major substantive topics addressed by experimental social science, including: race discrimination, gender differences in behavior, persuasion, corruption and voting.
  2. Each lecture will also cover methodological topics that will aid you in designing, conducting, analyzing and presenting a field or laboratory experiment.
  3. You, the student, will conduct an original experimental study (i.e. not only library or Google™ research) with human subjects. There will be a number of structured assignments and milestones leading to the planning, execution, write-up and presentation of this research.

Summary of Research Topics

  1. Racial Discrimination
  2. Public Health and Persuasion
  3. Incentives
  4. Gender Differences in Economic Environments
  5. Intrinsic Motivation and Fairness
  6. Educational Quality
  7. Corruption
  8. Learning and Social Effects
  9. Housing Experiments
  10. Voting Behavior and Political Economy
  11. Jury/Advocacy

Summary of Methodological Topics

  1. Causal Inference
  2. Threats to Validity (Internal Threats)
  3. Sample Size, Power Calculations
  4. Human Subjects
  5. Threats to Validity (External Threats)
  6. Clustering and Standard Errors
  7. Randomization as an Instrumental Variable
  8. Statistical Inference with Multiple Outcomes


1 Racial Discrimination David Autor
2 Public Health and Persuasion Esther Duflo
3 Incentives, Reciprocity and Cooperation David Autor Read 5 of 13 assigned example papers and 2 paragraphs on each
4 Gender Differences in Economic Environments: Leadership, Competition, Politics Esther Duflo Memo describing research topic of interest, including brief literature review
5 Intrinsic Motivation and Fairness David Autor Research proposal memo: Question, research design and further literature review as relevant. Complete MIT Human Subjects test

First version of Couhes application due 3 days after Lec #5
6 Improving Educational Quality Esther Duflo Final version of Couhes application due - This must be submitted to Couhes 2 days after Lec #6 or you will receive no credit for 14.11 (because you cannot perform an experiment).
7 Monitoring, Deception and Corruption David Autor
8 Learning and Social Effects Esther Duflo Final research design due
9 Commitment, Self-control and Savings Esther Duflo
10 Housing Experiments and Neighborhood Effects David Autor Memo summarizing and presenting initial analysis of your experimental results
11 Voting Esther Duflo
12 Juries, Advocacy and Bias David Autor Final project due 2 days after Lec #12