Using the Becker-DeGroot-Marschak Mechanism to Teach Willingness to Pay and Consumer Surplus

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The Becker DeGroot Marschak (BDM) mechanism is a widely-used technique to elicit subjects’ willingness to pay for ordinary consumer and environmental goods. In this article, I show an application of the BDM mechanism to teach the concepts of willingness to pay and consumer surplus in introductory economics classes. The procedure is easy to implement, even in courses with large enrollments, and it actively engages all students. Evidence suggests this technique improves learning outcomes.

Jens Schubert