As Real As Real

From our friends at Terra Nova:

Our first paper on the economics of EQII is now out in the current issue of the journal New Media & Society. … We think the paper is notable because it is the first instance (as far as we know) of published, peer-reviewed, basic economic tests using actual large-scale data from a virtual world. No estimates, no samples, no bootstrapping–just all of the data, period. …

First, the virtual world we studied appears to behave in the way a real economy does. The people there are as rational (or irrational) as we are offline. As a result, there are price indexes, an inflation rate, etc. … A natural experiment occurred in which a new server came online, and its economic indicators quickly approached and matched those of the existing ones. This suggests the powerful role of code in shaping and directing human behaviors in the aggregate. …

In political economy, we would phrase this last point as “institutions matter.” If you had not heard, a research group was given pretty much what it says there: all of the data. I look forward to seeing what else they draw from it.

: Zubon

3 thoughts on “As Real As Real”

  1. I just wonder what effect the introduction of the Kingdom of Sky expansion had on their research. It looks like they didn’t explicitly take it into account in the paper, although they did leave the possibility that SOE may have done something open as a possibility.

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