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Case Study
Feb 2014

Using Gamification to Learn About How People Spend Money

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Expilab Research
London School of Economics
Science Museum (london)

Special thanks to our partners, the London School of Economics and Science Museum (London)


Study a large and varied group of people of different ages,

Explore how choices about spending money are affected by things that are important in the real world, like how much you start off with, how regularly you get income, and how other people around you are spending their own money.


A toolkit that provides easy-to-use tools and a better understanding of how to identify and address behavioural barriers.

Expilab Research played a crucial role in the development of the "Applying Behavioural Science in IFAD projects" toolkit. The company's expertise was instrumental in shaping the content and format of the toolkit. The toolkit provides easy-to-use tools and a better understanding of how to identify and address behavioural barriers faced by policy beneficiaries and actors in IFAD's projects

Young audience attention

Manipulation of feelings

Economic utility concept

Avatar design to create a connection with the player

Monetary subdivisions

Providing feedback without signalling

Players with different decision-making timings


Designing an engaging environment for younger audience

Assignment of different endowments and signalling “poverty” or “richness”

Sequential matching for displaying and comparing feedback

Multiple-choice features for designing Avatars

Gold powder concept for expenditure

Rescaling utility and score function for unifying number dimensions

Neutral messaging to avoid priming


Based on the conceptual frameworks from theories like “Life-cycle Consumption Plans” and “Positional Goods”,

The game allowed LSE’s research team to collect an extensive amount of behavioral data about player’s actions and choices. This innovative design allowed different possibilities:

Engaging and enjoyable (pre-tested) game to play for kids

Adaptation to mobile/tablets devices for field testing purposes

Decisions and choices tracing with millisecond precision

Random or fixed condition allocation

Integration of complex survey instrument/scales

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Using Gamification to Learn About How People Spend Money

Spending game is a research tool to study economic behavior of kids and adults through gamification. With the original idea coming from Dr. Heather Kappes from London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), the spending game was co-designed and developed by LSE and Expilab.

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