Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Economics Games

Back when I was in college, one of my favorite classes was based on a simulated futures trading game. There are now many such games on the web. Here are nine to consider (all are listed on the far right under Top Economics Games):

1. Fix the Budget (NYT 11-13-2010)
This game lets you pick from the menu of choices to see how you would fix the budget. If only all government leaders played this game and posted their results.

2.  Fed Chairman Game
This game from the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco lets you try your hand as Chairman of the Fed.  My first round, I was not reappointed as Chair.

3. Game for Macroeconomists
This game is posted on Gregory Mankiw's site. Here you get to control both fiscal and monetary policy. It is also called the President's game - except in reality the President does not get to control monetary policy directly. To the chagrin of most Presidents, they don't even get to control fiscal policy directly, but must work with Congress.

One of the biggest knowledge gaps in freshman macro is that fiscal policy refers to taxation and spending and is conducted by Congress and the President (at the national  level). Whereas monetary policy typically refers to targets for money supply, interest rate, and/or credit and is conducted by the Fed.

4. The Economy Stupid (The Prime Minister's Game)
This game lets you choose fiscal policy for Great Britain. The game includes the VAT (value added tax - essentially a national sales tax that is designed to ensure collection).

5. Virtonomics Virtual Business
This game offers cash awards. It takes a substantial time investment to learn to play the game, but all aspects of running an international business are included. Players compete with other players around the globe.

6. Wall Street Survivor Stock Market Game
This is a top simulated stock market game. Cash Awards are given to the most successful players. Clubs or classes now can also win awards.

7. Investopedia Stock Simulator
Another top simulated stock market game. Cash awards are not given, but the game is integrated with Investopedia's vast pool of information for investors.

8. How to Trade Foreign Exchange
How the Market Works is yet another simulated stock market game. It also offers this game to practice trading in the foreign exchange markets.

9. Mock Futures Trading
This game offers practice trading in the futures/commodities markets.


  1. Thanks for the game listing! I'm teaching Entrepreneurship to a group of homeschool 9-12th graders. I can see a class competition coming up!

  2. excellent selection of games!

  3. Thanks for this list. Here are my 2 cents. The economy, stupid, is absolutely pathetic and ureal. Fed chairman and macroeconomic/president game operate under the same flaws as well; but they are more dynamic visual-wise. I achieved full employment and high inflation by running budget surpluses and monetary stimulus. This is both a priori and a posteriori wrong. Since budget surpluses drain net assets from the private economy. While monetary policy, stimulating lending, does not lead to the creation of new net financial assets. Interest rates hardly have an impact on inflation. Fiscal policy, however, does. Monetary policy is a blunt tool. Japan, the USA, and the UK are proof of that.