Traditional definitions of microeconomics emphasise the study of the rational decisions of individuals who face scarcity. Nowadays, perhaps intriguingly, the practice of microeconomics has more to do with the definition by Karl Marx: "Economics is the relationship between men disguised as a relationship between things." Indeed, a large proportion of current microeconomic research deals with strategic interaction mediated by institutions, which are often designed with an explicit objective to obtain the best possible outcome.
The UPF Microeconomics research group is no exception. A large part of research effort is devoted to two main lines of research: First, studying the positive theories of strategic behavior. Second, the application of those theories to the design of mechanisms and incentive schemes in private organisations and public sectors. Through its research on strategic behavior, the group is especially well known for its contributions to the understanding of learning processes and evolutionary dynamics as a foundation of equilibrium concepts. Within mechanism design, the group's most important contributions have been in the implementation theory of social choice functions, in auctions, and in procurement mechanisms. Other relevant research lines deal with the relationship between communication processes and strategic interaction, the refinement of equilibrium concepts, and applications within industrial organisation and political economy.
The researchers in this group have received support from the Dirección General de Investigación Cientifíca y Técnica, the EU-TMR network program, the European Research Council (ERC) and the Generalitat de Catalunya. Research has been published in, among others, the American Economic Review, Econometrica, Journal of Economic Theory, Journal of Political Economy, Rand Journal of Economics, Review of Economic Studies, and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
UPF researchers in this group include: Larbi Alaoui, Jose Apesteguia, Antoni Bosch-Domènech, Xavier Calsamiglia, Joan de Martí, Jan Eeckhout, Fabrizio Germano, Nagore Iriberri, Humberto Llavador, Andreu Mas-Colell, and Rosemarie Nagel. Several doctoral students have written or write dissertations in the area, and some have obtained offers for assistant professor positions at, among others: Stockholm University, Texas A&M University, Rutgers University, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, Università Bocconi, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Universität Mannheim, and University College London. The group also collaborates intensely with other Departmental research groups as members and co-authors. Further inter-disciplinary collaboration includes articles published in journals of psychology, political science, biology, and physics.
Microeconomics is naturally an important part of the training of any economist, so it is presented at all levels: undergraduate, MSc, MBA, and PhD. It is also included in the curriculum of other UPF departments: Law, Political Science, and Journalism.