The Demand Curve Analyzer: Behavioral economic software for applied research

Shawn P. Gilroy, Department of Psychology, Louisiana State University.
Brent A. Kaplan, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Carilion Research Institute.
Derek D. Reed, Department of Applied Behavioral Science, University of Kansas.
Mikhail N. Koffarnus, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Carilion Research Institute.
Donald A. Hantula, Department of Psychology, Temple University.


Free and open-source software for applying models of operant demand called the Demand Curve Analyzer (DCA) was developed and systematically evaluated for use in research. The software was constructed to streamline the use of recommended screening measures, prepare suitable scaling parameters, fit one of several models of operant demand, and provide publication-quality figures. The DCA allows users to easily import price and consumption data into spreadsheet-based controls and to perform statistical modeling with the aid of a graphical user interface. The results from computer simulations and reanalyses of published study data indicated that the DCA provides results consistent with commercially available software that has been traditionally used to apply these analyses (i.e., GraphPadTM Prism). Further, the DCA provides additional functionality that other statistical packages do not include. Practical issues and future directions related to the determination of scaling parameter k, screening for nonsystematic data, and the incorporation of more advanced behavioral economic methods are also discussed.