The Economics of Board Games

Using economic experiments on common board games to learn more about economic decisions and outcomes.

Department: Economics

Supervised by: James Reade

The Placement Project

The economics of board games is an emerging field led by researchers at Reading, utilising the fact that games mimic many of the aspects of basic game theory, offering simplified variants of economic activity. The board game Settlers of Catan is an ideal model, as players attempt to achieve the greatest rate of economic growth to win the game, trading, investing and making other strategic economic decisions along the way. It is possible to investigate the effect of players characteristics' (such as their attitudes to risk, cooperation and competition) and strategies on outcomes of the game, and to use different variants of the game to simulate alternative incentive scenarios holding these characteristics fixed. Data has already been collected on a number of such experiments which needs to be analysed to begin answering research questions. For example, what role does the perceived fairness of redistribution by government play in attitudes towards government and trade? This UROP will require the student to conduct basic manipulation of data, combining a number of different data sources to create a dataset for analysis, and subsequently conducting that analysis. This will be an exploratory analysis of the data and as such it may be that numerous routes of interesting analysis emerge, but we anticipate that the student will gain great experience analysing data, investigating ideas of interest, and presenting them to the rest of the project team.


1, Data manipulation: Create merged datasets of surveys and game outcomes. 2, Data analysis: Presentation of basic correlations and difference-in-difference regression analysis to analyse hypotheses at centre of experiments already conducted. 3, Research presentation and discussion. 4, Contribution to future research designs.

Skills, knowledge and experience required

1, Data manipulation and analysis (ideally familiarity with Stata or R, not essential but willingness to learn essential). 2, Communication skills for contacting published authors and other potential sources of data (e.g. makers of computer versions of board games). 3, Presentation skills for reporting findings effectively to PI and team.

Skills which will be developed during the placement

1, Greater familiarity with econometric software packages and Excel. 2, Greater familiarity with research process, in particular the design of experiments. 3, Presentation and communication skills.

Place of Work

School of Politics Economics and Internaitonal Relations

Hours of Work


Approximate Start and End Dates (not fixed)

Monday 03 July 2017 - Friday 11 August 2017

How to Apply

1, Application: CV and brief covering letter, detailing experience with econometric software and data manipulation.2, Interview with PI and CI.3, Feedback will be provided to all applicants. Please apply directly to the supervisor by the closing date of Friday 21st April.

Return to Placements List

Page navigation

Search Form