Our research

Our rankings

Our cutting-edge research informs and enriches the School's teaching programs, bringing our students a perspective at the forefront of innovation and agenda setting. It is also the basis for our engagement with the wider community through joint discovery, consulting and other outreach activities.

We ranked well above world standard in economic theory and econometrics, and above world standard in applied economics in the Excellence in Research for Australia 2018 National Report. Other outstanding rankings include:

  • #2 economics research institution in Australia and #45 in the world (Research Papers in Economics, 2019)
  • #3 in the world for research into efficiency and productivity (Research Papers in Economics, 2019).

Our objectives


Publish scholarly papers
in reputable journals


Generate external sources of
income to fund research


Graduate highly competent higher
degree by research students

Research strengths

The School’s economic theory research group is the strongest in Australia and competes internationally. The group is working in a range of areas including the study of the foundations of strategic behaviour (game theory), individual behaviour under uncertainty (decision theory) and the study of markets (mechanisms of design and auction theory). Research in economic theory at UQ has far-reaching implications for policy development in areas such as climate change, superannuation, taxation, competition policy and regulation. In addition, the School houses the Gambit software tools for game theory and related tools for computation of Nash equilibria of strategic games as part of its collaboration with the University of Texas.

Macroeconomic theory

Macroeconomics is a branch of economics that deals with the issues of an economy as a whole, rather than those of individual agents or specific markets. Macroeconomics is concerned with the understanding of aggregate phenomena such as economic growth, business cycles, unemployment, inflation, and international trade among others. These topics are of particular relevance for the development and evaluation of economic policy.

Mathematical economics

Mathematical economics provides explicit assumptions and lines of reasoning, exactly understood results that can be used with confidence and novel insights that can be derived from the application of sophisticated methods. Applications include consumer problems, cost minimisation, and dynamic programming for dynamic economies.

Microeconomic theory

Researchers in this field study the way market mechanisms drive individuals, households and firms to make decisions concerning the allocation of scarce resources. Areas of particular research interest include choice under uncertainty, competition and regulation, markets under asymmetric information (including the analysis of auction and auction-like markets), efficiency and the provision of public goods. Theoretical analysis of firm behaviour in non-competitive markets relies heavily on game theory.


The School has a long-standing reputation for applied economics research. Its research group in this field is large and the research portfolio diverse. The group has core strengths in agricultural, environmental and resource economics, development and health economics and policy analysis. Significant projects encompass natural resource management, community, rural and international development, unemployment and employment, health, labour markets, commodity markets and financial markets, migration and the delivery of goods and services. In both the short and long-term, the School’s applied economics research program will have ramifications for market regulation, the allocation of income and resources, community development and the provision of public services in areas such as social security, health, defence, education and urban planning.

Applied macroeconomics

Applied macroeconomics deals with the issues of an economy as a whole, rather than those of individual agents or specific markets. It's concerned with understanding aggregate phenomena such as economic growth, business cycles, unemployment, inflation, and international trade, among others. These topics are of particular relevance for the development and evaluation of economic policy.

Agricultural economics

Agricultural economics plays an important role in understanding the development opportunities in less developed countries and in improving rural livelihoods across the globe. Researchers in this field study decision-making and resource allocation in the production, distribution and consumption of agricultural goods and services. Areas of research interest include the allocation and use of land and water resources, climate variability and adaptation, managing risk and uncertainty, resource use externalities and public goods.

Economic development and growth

Economic development and growth is a multi-dimensional concept relating to improvements in human welfare. Researchers in this field are concerned with levels of poverty, inequality, health, education, social justice and unemployment. They investigate legal, institutional and other barriers to the development of efficient production and distribution systems for goods and services. They view economic growth as necessary but not sufficient condition for economic development.

Energy economics

Energy economics deals with the generation, transmission and distribution of energy in economic systems, both nationally and internationally. How contractual and trading systems determine the prices of different forms of energy is a central concern. In relation to this, the design of regulatory regimes and energy policies are of key interest. The environmental impacts of energy consumption have received increasing attention, particularly in relation to the debate concerning the impacts of carbon emissions.

Environment and resource economics

Environmental economics is concerned with the negative consequences of human actions leading to environmental problems including air pollution, deterioration in land and water quality, toxic substances, solid waste, and climate change. Valuation of the environment to enable evaluation of projects when there are environmental impacts is an important component. Natural resource economics is a broader field, encompassing the economically efficient and sustainable allocation of renewable resources and the economically efficient extraction of non-renewable natural resources.

Experimental, behavioural, and evolutionary methods

Experimental economics is a branch of economics that uses controlled experiments to test the validity of economic theories and behavioural assumptions, investigate the performance of different market mechanisms and, ultimately, prompt new behavioural theories to better explain and predict economic behaviour. Experiments make use of monetary incentives and may be conducted in the laboratory or in the field.

Health economics

Health economists are concerned with issues of resource allocation and scarcity in the allocation of health and health care. Research in this field tends to focus on the measurement of health status and the demand for and/or supply of health care services. This research is used to inform public policy relating to health insurance, health financing and the efficiency of health service provision.


Macroeconomics is a branch of economics that deals with the issues of an economy as a whole, rather than those of individual agents or specific markets. Macroeconomics is concerned with the understanding of aggregate phenomena such as economic growth, business cycles, unemployment, inflation, and international trade among others. These topics are of particular relevance for the development and evaluation of economic policy.

International economics

International economics is the field of study to understand the causes and consequences of economic interaction between countries. Researchers in the international trade field focus on gains from trade and factor movements (e.g. immigration, outsourcing), the impact of trade on economic growth, and effects of trade policy including tariffs, regional and multilateral trade agreements (e.g. NAFTA and WTO). International macroeconomics deals with the balance of payments, exchange rates and macroeconomic policies including optimum currency areas and global financial crises under the open-economy.

Productivity and efficiency analysis

Productivity and efficiency analysis researchers develop various theories as well as do empirical analysis involving measures of absolute and relative economic performance, including measures of productivity and efficiency for various economics systems (e.g. firms, farms, banks, entire industries or entire countries). Some studies involve measurement of productivity growth that decompose into measures of technological change, efficiency change and other sources. Estimation methods usually involve intensive use of various econometric techniques, statistical and economic theory for index numbers and mathematical programming methods (linear, non-linear, integer and mixed programming optimisations).

Featured projects

Project Duration
Optimising the National Benefits From Restoring Environmental Water Flows
ARC DECRA Fellowship
How to make other people happy. The contribution individuals can make to the happiness of others
ARC Future Fellowship
Legitimacy and representation: A comprehensive study of electoral systems and strategic voting behaviour
ARC Discovery Project
Informing economic policies to enhance an efficient and sustainable use of water resources in a context of high uncertainty on future climate
ARC Future Fellowship

An investigation of the impacts of increased power supply to the national grid by wind generators on the Australian electricity industry
ARC Linkage Project

Income insecurity in Australia: Who is feeling the pinch and why?
ARC Discovery Project
A study of consumers' competence when choosing between complex mobile phone contracts and the regulatory implications of their coping strategies
ARC Discovery Project
An economic analysis of the effect of networks on jobs and mental health in China: patterns, consequences and policy implications
ARC Discovery Project
Assessing the impacts of proposed carbon trading and tax schemes on the Australian electricity industry and the overall economy
ARC Linkage Project
Determinants, Motives and Channels of Pacific Island Workers' Remittances from Australia
ARC Discovery Project
Climate change: Adaptation and resilience in the face of uncertainty
ARC Federation Fellowship
Improving Likelihood Estimators: Theory and Applications to Analyzing Productivity and Efficiency and Forecasting of Probability of Economic Recession
ARC Discovery Project
Lifelong Education and Health Investment: Implications for Life Expectancy, Economic Growth and Public Policy
ARC Discovery Project


Within the field of econometrics, the School's researchers are conducting frontier methodological research in areas such as the measurement of productivity and efficiency, international price comparisons and real income as well as how to deal with missing data.

Cross-sectional analysis

Cross-sectional analysis examines the empirical relationship between economic variables at a particular point in time. At the microeconomic level, researchers might be interested in the relationship between household expenditure and income. At the macroeconomic level, interest may centre on inter-country comparisons of price levels or GDP. Econometric models range from simple multiple regression models to censored regression models and models of multiple choice.

Econometric and statistical methods

Econometrics involves the application of statistical methods in an economics context, with focus on causal inference as well as prediction. Historically, research in this field has focused on the development of sampling theory estimators with the properties of consistency, unbiased, efficiency and asymptotic normality. More recently, many researchers in the field have switched their focus to Bayesian methods for statistical inference.

Macroeconometric analysis

Researchers in this field use statistical techniques to empirically investigate questions in macroeconomics. Such questions might include, "do the features (or restrictions) implied by macroeconomic theory have empirical support?" Or, "which of these features have empirical support?" Other purposes are to characterise how the economy as a whole, unemployment, interest rates or perhaps consumption, might respond to policy or external shocks.

Panel data analysis

Panel data refers to data collected on a number of individuals over a number of time periods (e.g. the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia Survey that has been conducted annually since 2001). With repeated observations of enough cross-sections, panel analysis permits the researcher to study the dynamics of change with short time series. A vast range of econometric techniques have been extended to allow the specification, estimation, and inference in the context of models that include individual (firm, person, etc.) effects.

Time-series analysis and forecasting

Researchers in this field use statistical methods to estimate mathematical models and generate forecasts. A feature of these models is that they have a strong foundation in economic theory. Examples include microeconomic models of production and consumer demand, macroeconomic models of national income, saving and investment, and computable general equilibrium models of trade, development and the environment.


Learn about our research centres and groups

With a diverse range of research strengths, unrivalled research expertise and an international reputation for excellence, the School of Economics provides every advantage to succeed and ensures graduates are recognised as experts in their fields.
Conduct your research from UQ and become a part of the School.
Find out about how to engage our research services for your organisation.
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