VERA Lab, the Laboratory of Experimental Economics financed by VERA is dedicated to research and teaching activities in experimental economics.

The experiments are conducted by the research team of CERME, the Center for Experimental Research in Management and Economics at Ca’ Foscari University, and allow to develop various research programs in behavioral economics.

The laboratory consists of a room with 35 workstations and a control space and is located in San Giobbe on the first floor of room 1A. The computers are placed in separate cubicles to avoid uncontrolled interactions between the participants during the experiment.

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Participation in the experiments is completely voluntary, does not entail any risk and is remunerated. The experiments are run both online and at VERA Lab in San Giobbe (Fondamenta San Giobbe, Cannaregio 873, 30121 Venezia). However, detailed information about the implementation of the experiment will be provided when inviting participants to an experimental session.

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Experimental Economics Publications in collaboration with VERA

Narratives on COVID-19 and Policy Opinions: A Survey Experiment

Armenak Antinyan (Wenlan School of Business, Zhongnan University of Economics and Law, China)
Thomas Bassetti 
(Department of Economics and Management “Marco Fanno”, University of Padua, Italy)
Luca Corazzini  (Department of Economics and VERA, University Of Venice Ca' Foscari)
Filippo Pavesi  (School of Economics and Management, LIUC (Carlo Cattaneo University), Italy)

Working Papers 2021:04, Department of Economics, University of Venice "Ca' Foscari".

Narratives impact people’s opinions on relevant policy issues, and their political context may influence these effects. Indeed, some specific contexts may be more easily swayed by certain stories that provide explanations for current social and economic phenomena. We explore this issue by considering the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic as a natural experiment that creates the ideal conditions for existing narratives to gain momentum and spread. In particular, we run a survey experiment in the US by exposing subjects to two media-based popular explanations on the causes of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Lab narrative attributes the upstart of the pandemic to human error and scientific misconduct in a laboratory in China, while the Nature narrative describes the genetic and biological causes of the virus. We find evidence that subjects’ beliefs on the origins of the disease are influenced by the narrative they are presented with. Moreover, the Lab narrative leads subjects living in Republican-leaning states to express less favorable opinions about trade openness and the relevance of climate change relative to those living in Democratic-leaning states. Thus, our findings provide support for the idea that recalling stories that are part of larger narratives can lead to divergence of opinions on crucial issues leading to an increase in policy polarization. Finally, we explore the underlying features of social contexts associated with US states’ political orientation, that moderate the impact of narratives on policy opinions.

On the relationship between information and social norms in affecting income tax evasion

Ludovica Spinola (Department of Economics, University Of Venice Ca' Foscari)

In this study, we want to inspect how information on enforcement results- i.e. reports on the number of people that have been caught evading taxes- affect the overall level of individuals’ compliance within a society. We expect that when the reported number of denounced tax evaders is perceived as high by citizens, on one hand, the latter infer that most of the people evade taxes and, consequently, comply less. On the other, citizens believe that the audit probability is high, hence they comply more. The final level of tax compliance depends on which of the two “forces” is stronger. Conversely, when the number of convicted tax evaders is perceived as low by taxpayers, the overall level of tax evasion may be affected by the asymmetric effect of empirical information. We will run a tax evasion experiment with three informational treatments, in which participants are given enforcement results. In particular, in the baseline, individuals are informed on N, the number of subjects that have been denounced for tax evasion in a previous session. In the “Info-Evaders” treatment, subjects are given information on N and on E, the number of subjects who evaded taxes no matter whether they were audited or not, in a previous session. In the “Info-Prob” treatment, information on N and on the audit probability, p, are disclosed. In the “Full-Info” treatment citizens are informed on N, E and p.