Our research is philosophical, theoretical, empirical, and methodological. We examine fundamental questions that challenge and strengthen the foundations of our disciplines and improve understanding. We develop theoretical models to better understand how economies and their component parts function. We use quantitative and qualitative analytical techniques to test these and other theories and to analyze observed behavior. We develop new econometric techniques to better analyze data – data collected by us and by others.
The world in which we live is characterized by its economic, social, cultural and legal environments, all of which are shaped by policies, laws, regulations and institutions. In the Department of Economics we examine how these various environments, shaped by policies, laws, regulations and institutions, affect economic actors, from the parent deciding which school her child should attend, to the political donor choosing which candidate to support, to the government setting tax policy to attract foreign direct investment. We study how economic actors respond to tax harmonization, how multinational firms lobby governments in the countries in which they operate for tax policies beneficial to their bottom lines, how tax policies of various jurisdictions singly and together affect where firms choose to locate, and how tax policies improve or worsen the quality of the environment in which we live. We ask how economic inequalities emerge and persist intergenerationally, and probe the role of gender, ethnicity and race in economic inequality, in terms of wages and earnings and other economic outcomes. We analyze how individuals and firms respond to the explicit and implicit incentives shaped by the policies, laws, regulations and institutions, seeking to understand how these responses contributed to financial crises and their aftermaths at the level of the individual who has lost his life savings, cannot repay his mortgage, and has seen the value of his pension collapse, to the firm which cannot raise funds to operate, to nations preaching and practicing austerity while unemployment and economic hardship mounts. We examine how in different environments big firms and small make decisions, and how those decisions affect firm profitability and growth. We ask how preferences are formed and change, how emotions affect decisions and move markets, and how we become who we are. We delve into governance structures both at the level of the firm, the profession, the market and the state to determine how these structures influence outcomes.
We, the researchers of the Department of Economics observe the world as it is. We try to understand that world and we seek to make it better.