Research Fields

Department of Economics

Fields and Definitions


Microeconomics

The study of decisions made by individuals, firms, and organizations when facing constraints. Topics include consumer and producer theory, choice under uncertainty, general equilibrium theory, game theory, information economics, and mechanism design.

Macroeconomics

Macroeconomics studies how an overall economy—the market systems operating on a large scale—behaves.  Topics include aggregate employment, income, investment, saving, prices, interest rates, asset prices, as well as growth, fiscal and monetary policy.

Econometrics

Econometrics is the quantitative application of statistical and mathematical models using data to develop theories or test existing hypotheses in economics and to forecast future trends from historical data.  Topics include probability theory, asymptotic theory, parametric and nonparametric modeling, time series, panel data methods, and microeconometrics.

Behavioural and Experimental Economics

Behavioral and Experiment Economics is the study of psychology as it relates to the economic decision-making processes of individuals and institutions, tested in a laboratory environment using experimental methods.  Topics include rational choice, bounded rationality, prospect theory, dual-system theory, time discounting, fairness, trust and honesty, social preferences and norms. 

Cultural Economics

Cultural economics studies the relation of culture to economic behaviours and outcomes.  Applications include the study of media, social capital, social identity, and the production of cultural goods.

Economic Growth, Innovation, and Productivity

Research in economic growth, innovation, and productivity studies determinants of differences in productive capacities across organizations, regions and countries.  Research in this area explores roles capital accumulation, technological change, and frictions in generating economic growth, seeking to identify and measure the drivers of growth and the determinants of innovation.

Environmental, Energy, and Resource Economics

Environmental economics provides a framework for thinking about whether environmental issues necessitate government interventions in markets,  and to what extent.  Topics include energy markets, pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, and valuation of environmental goods.

Health Economics

Health economics studies economic determinants and consequences of differences in health outcomes.  Research topics in this area identifying and measuring the benefits of health intervention, economic impacts through population health studies, and the role of pollution and substance abuse on economic outcomes.

Industrial Organization and Regulation

Industrial organization studies market competition, the strategic behavior of firms, regulatory and antitrust policy. Topics include determinants and consequences of industrial market structure, public control of utilities and antitrust regulation, dynamic oligopoly, collusion and technological change.

Labour Economics

Labour economics explores the functioning and dynamics of the markets for wage labour and the determinants of individual wages. Topics include the functioning of labour markets, human capital and wage determination, wage inequality, unemployment and minimum wages.

Political Economy

Research in political economy focuses on the interaction between economic policies and  outcomes with political institutions.  Topics include economic development, income inequality and economic growth, and the quality of government, administrative, and social institutions.

Public Economics, Finance and Taxation

Public economics provides a framework for thinking about whether or not the government should participate in economic markets and, if so, how and to what extent.  Topics include theories of government provision of public goods, the role and effects of taxation, and costs and benefits of social and government expenditure programs.

International Trade

International trade studies the exchange of capital, goods, and services across international borders or territories.  Topics include economic models of trade, measuring and identifying the determinants of the gains from trade, customs unions and free trade agreements and the relationships between international trade, labor markets, and the income distribution.

Transportation Economics

Transportation economics explores the functioning and the allocation of resources in the transportation sector and has strong ties to research in civil engineering. In addition to considering the demand, production, and pricing of transportation services, this field considers the network effects, market power and competition issues, and public good aspects of transportation, both for consumer and in the production of goods and services.