Research areas

The Economics section conducts world class theoretical and empirical research in labour economics, economics of education, public economics, behavioural and experimental economics, health economics, macroeconomics, international economics, economic theory, industrial organisation, urban economics, political economy and development economics.

Labour economics

Labour economics deals with how labour markets function in a broad sense. It studies the determinants of wages, including topics such as labour market policies, job search, firm training, unemployment, labour mobility, work-life balance, household decisions, discrimination, etc. It encompasses both a micro and macro perspective, where the micro perspective is typically interested in the individual workers, households, and firms, while the macro perspective is interested in institutions, inequalities, and aggregate outcomes such as unemployment and vacancies.

Main topics: Labour markets, inequality, job search, labour market policies, unemployment, vacancies, job loss, labour market institutions, family economics, discrimination


Timo Hener

Associate Professor

Economics of education

Economics of education focuses on economic aspects of education systems, institutions, and policies. Researchers examine costs and benefits of education for individuals, inputs and outputs of the education process, education and training as inputs to earnings potential, effectiveness of education policies, and the impact of education on labour market outcomes. The methods applied span from advanced empirical analyses to theoretical modelling. In Economics of education, policy analysis relies on causal inference based on observational and experimental data.

Main topics: Human capital accumulation, peer effects in education, intergenerational mobility, skill formation, financial aid, school choice, disadvantaged children and youth, early childhood education and care, compulsory and post-compulsory education, child development, economics of teachers


Timo Hener

Associate Professor

Public economics

Public economics focuses on government policies and their influence on the broader economy. It examines the mechanisms of taxation and government spending, assessing their implications on social welfare, economic efficiency, and inequality. The discipline is central in addressing market imperfections, designing optimal taxation strategies and robust social insurance systems. Furthermore, it provides insights into pressing global issues, from climate policy to health disparities, ensuring that better outcomes can be attained.

Main Topics: Taxation, redistribution, social insurance, climate policy, externalities, fiscal policy, welfare state, inequality in health, regulation, pensions

Behavioural and experimental economics

Behavioural and experimental economics is a research field at the intersection of psychology and economics. It investigates how human behaviour deviates from classical economics models. Researchers study decision-making under uncertainty, social preferences, time-inconsistent preferences, and cognitive biases, and apply these to study, for example, the impact of social norms and incentives on economic choices. Through experiments and empirical data, often combined with theory, this area provides insights into how psychological factors shape economic outcomes, offering a deeper understanding of human behaviour in social contexts.

Main topics: Choice under uncertainty, belief formation and updating, bounded rationality, reference dependence, self-regulation, mental accounting, social preferences, norms and morality, nudging, incentives, rules and laws, fairness, discrimination and inequality

Health economics

Health economics focuses on the allocation, utilisation, and impact of healthcare resources and services, as well as individual health investments. It studies various aspects of individual health production and healthcare systems, including health behaviours, the behaviour of healthcare providers, the demand for healthcare services, and the distribution of health outcomes within populations. Additionally, health economics investigates the costs and benefits of different health and healthcare-related interventions, the allocation of resources within healthcare systems, and the economic drivers of health disparities.

Main topics: Early health and interventions, health care demand and utilization, health disparities, health and environment, ageing and retirement, health behaviours and nudges, health care providers


Macroeconomics is concerned with how the overall economy works. It focuses on the performance of economies – for example changes in economic output, unemployment and inflation – and asks what are the causes generating business cycles, what are the welfare implications of firms’ market power and labour market institutions, and what are the effects of monetary and fiscal policy. Our research also analyses the dynamic interaction between workers and firms, the effects of climate change on economies, how the economy interacts with financial markets and what generates long-term growth.

Main topics: Monetary policy, fiscal policy, macro-finance, market psychology, uncertainty, unemployment, income distribution, economics of climate change, economic growth

International economics

International economics explores the dynamics, causes, and consequences of trade, including the exchange of goods and services, capital movements, foreign direct investment, labour mobility, and the dissemination of knowledge across borders. It places particular emphasis on the roles of firms, firm heterogeneity, and industries. Furthermore, International economics examines trade policies, alongside other domestic and international economic policies, policy shocks, and regulations, and assesses their impact on economic integration or disintegration, economic growth, welfare, and distributional consequences.

 Main topics: Trade, firm heterogeneity, industry dynamics, firm performance, multinational enterprises, global value chains, foreign direct investment, gains from trade, economic integration, trade policy and regulations, international aspects of economic policy, migration, labour market outcomes, distributional consequences, structural change

Economic theory

The formal modelling principles and results developed within the field of Economic theory provide the foundations of applied analysis and empirical work throughout economics and related disciplines. They constitute the core of our understanding of both individual and aggregate behaviour, of how markets and institutions work, and ultimately of how the economy as a whole performs. Interacting with empirical and experimental work, Economic theory plays a central role both positively and normatively in addressing economy-wide challenges.

Main topics: Decision theory, game theory, economics of information and contracting, mechanisms, auctions, bargaining, search and matching, decision-making under ambiguity and unawareness

Industrial organisation

Industrial organisation (IO) investigates market intricacies through empirical research and theoretical analysis. It examines the ramifications of firms' decentralised decision-making on both their individual performance and broader market dynamics. Simultaneously, Industrial organisation explores the reciprocal influence of market forces on firms' behaviours and outcomes. Furthermore, this field extends its inquiry into various domains, encompassing network dynamics, competition policy, regulatory frameworks, and the operations of nonprofit and public enterprises.

Main topics: Firm strategy and performance, firms' market decisions, multi-product firms, sector studies, applications of theories of the firm, antitrust, competition, regulation, mergers, industry dynamics, and productivity estimation

Urban economics

Urban economics is a branch of microeconomics that studies the urban spatial structure and the location of firms and households. It analyses urban issues such as housing, crime, education, positive externalities of cities as well as negative (e.g., traffic congestion and pollution), residential segregation, local government finance, and urban policies. It regards a local property market as a completely product-differentiated market due to the unique location of a property and accounts for the spatial relationships between firms and individuals.

Main topics: Private and public housing, crime, education, residential segregation, disadvantaged neighbourhoods, place-based policies, traffic, pollution, spatial externalities      

Political economy

Political economy is a branch of economics (and political science) often defined as either the application of methods common to economics to questions common to political science, or simply the grey zone between economics and political science. It studies how political decisions affect the economy and how economics affects political decisions made by decision-makers that are equally self-interested and rational in private and public choice. As such, Political economy includes the study of economic voting, corruption, rent-seeking, and the economically optimal design of constitutional limits and political institutions.

Main topics: Elections, public choice, rent-seeking, corruption, economic freedom, political agency, institutions

Development economics

Development economics is the study of how to reduce poverty and inequality and bring about economic growth and structural change in developing economies by improving access to necessities, improving the functioning of markets for credit, goods and labour, better utilising human resources and bringing about institutions that incentivise better economic and political behaviour. A central focus is to evaluate the effectiveness of various government policies intended to increase consumption, savings, health or education within populations. Similarly, the role played by private initiatives and international organisations in achieving developmental goals is also a growing area.

Main topics: Policy evaluation, microfinance, intra-household decision making, social norms and trust, poverty, caste, gender, labour markets, domestic migration, remittances, corruption, institutional change