As in most robust sciences, theory and methodology are not static in economics. In recent years, two of the most important developments have been the infusions from related behavioural sciences (psychology and sociology) and biology (neurosciences, genetics, evolutionary models) into economics of theories and concepts, together with the growth of experimental methods. Indeed, the Nobel prizes awarded to Daniel Kahneman and Vernon Smith in 2002 emphasise these developments.
UPF Economics and Business faculty members are at the forefront of these movements. In addition to work that integrates psychological and neuroscience dimensions into economic theory, the Department’s researchers use the lab to test existing and alternative theories of economics. Much of this work centres on issues in game theory and individual choice behaviour that lie at the heart of modern microeconomics.
The work in this area also has a strong applied element. For example, policies for public health typically make strong behavioural assumptions about individual behaviour that are consistent with conventional economic theory. However, what if people's judgments and preferences do not comply with these assumptions? How should ethical considerations be taken into account when dealing with economic decisions? Is it possible to change or "correct" behaviours, or do they tell us something about failures in the very concept of rationality itself?