Experimental Economics with Marketscape

What is Marketscape?

Marketscape is a core double auction trading technology that has been used for over 10 years at the Caltech Experimental Economics and Political Science Laboratory for experimental economics research.

What kinds of experiments can Marketscape do?

Here are some examples of what it can do.

Simple Market Supply/Demand


In the subject 121's private market, called PrivateX121, the experimenter has placed a buy order for 1 unit @ 400 francs. That means if the subject can find a unit of X in the X market for less than 400 francs, he would have a profitable opportunity to buy the unit of X in the public X market and sell it to the experimenter for 400 francs in the private PRIVATEX market. Private markets are used by experimenters to set incentives for subjects, and determine induced supply and demand. Trading is then observed in the public markets. Marketscape can generate supply/demand experiments with multiple types of buyers and sellers with no programmers or programming knowledge.

Complex Securities Market with inside information over future state of the world


This experiment was customized by our programmers, using Marketscape as the core technology. In this experiment in every period there is an unknown state of the world for all subjects. The state is in {A,B,...,J}. At the end of the period, the true state is revealed and the securities are exchanged for fixed prices according to a publicly known schedule. During the period, insiders receive noisy signals about the state, such as "not G", or "is A, E, or J".

Experimental results delivery with Gmail


Sign up for a free email account with Google Gmail, and have your experimental results delivered there. We suggest creating a new Gmail account, because then you can choose to utilize this account only for experiments and separate it from your personal or other work emails, and if you wish, share the password with your colleagues and graduate students.

Results are also stored in the USB drive and can be extracted from Windows or Linux. For most users, Gmail is simpler and faster.

Other Demos

Production/Consumption demo, several years old, gives some ideas about customized screens and capabilities: http://eeps.caltech.edu/market-demo/

Getting Marketscape

To download and burn a Marketscape LiveCD yourself, visit DownloadMarketscape

Time permitting, we are happy to help newcomers get started. If you are a faculty member or graduate student interested in Experimental Economics and would rather we burned the CD for you, and mail it to you, then you may request one from Professor Charles R Plott by email at cplott@hss.caltech.edu


  1. The Marketscape CD (see Getting Marketscape, above)
  2. A laptop or desktop computer with a wired connection to the internet, with at least 1Gb of RAM and Linux-compatible components.
  3. A USB pen drive, required for storing experiments and results.

Optional: Marketscape can email end-of-experiment results to your Google Gmail account. You can get a Google Gmail account for free.

Manuals and Documentation


By any act of copying, with or without modifying, and/or redistributing any of the Marketscape software you agree to the terms of the GNU General Public License, which includes a warranty disclaimer.

Marketscape and the EEPS Disk are Licensed under the GNU General Public License (also known as the GNU GPL). You can read the License by clicking here.

The purpose of using this License, which has become the standard governing a large number of free software projects across the internet, is to give users the rights of using free open source software -- the freedoms to use, understand, modify, improve, and redistribute the software -- on the requirement that they behave in the responsible manner defined in the License and not "steal" the software or steal these rights from others. To summarize, if you modify or distribute the software, you must also grant to others the same rights we grant, and you must also provide the source code. Further details and requirements are defined in the GNU General Public License.

Warranty Disclaimer: We are required by the terms of the GNU GPL to tell you that there is no warranty of any kind for any of the Marketscape and EEPS CD software and that all use is at your own risk. We distribute the software in the hope that it will be useful (it has been useful to us). But, there is no warranty of any kind. This disclaimer of warranty applies both to Marketscape and the dozens of free programs on the EEPS CD upon which it relies, which are also free software previously contributed by others and included on the EEPS CD under the terms of the GNU GPL.


Marketscape includes a self-test screen to detect computer components needed to run experiments.

If the self-test fails, you need to use a different computer.

If the self-test indicates a Firewall, you may want to use a different laboratory, or at least conduct your own tests to see if the laboratory is usable.

New users sometimes find booting the CD tricky. It is a CD you boot, not a CD you run after windows starts. Details to boot the CD are in the tutorials.

Please report any other problems that you may experience.


We thank the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation for the financial support necessary to release Marketscape and the EEPS live CD as open source. We also thank Richard Stallman and the Free Software Foundation for pioneering the development of standards and legal protection for free software and we thank Linus Torvalds and the thousands of volunteers who have released Linux as free and open source software and enabled us to build upon their efforts.

MarketscapeWelcome (last edited 2009-10-03 19:15:34 by DrPaulBrewer)