ABSTRACT**: This paper assesses the contribution of laboratory experiments to the economics of design applied to the electricity industry. The analysis is dedicated to wholesale markets, and reviews the results accumulated to date concerning both the general architecture of power markets and the very details of the market rules or institution, that is the auction rule. We argue that these experimental results contribute to a better understanding of the performances properties and implementation features of competitive market designs and that experimental economics has proven very useful to public authorities to inform the restructuring of the electricity industry. It thus confirms the role of experimental economics as a complement to theoretical approaches in the design effort.