Three fields of research are proposed: Strategy, Applied Microeconomics and Finance.
Research field: Strategy
The Strategy research line seeks to examine the factors associated with the sector, firm or location that generates persistent differences in performance among organizations in terms of productivity and profitability. Research has shown that there is a high degree of performance heterogeneity among firms. In certain cases, these differences can persist over years, which is a phenomenon called “sustainable competitive advantage” in the field of strategic management. In other cases, the differences are temporary due to the industry’s competitive dynamics (namely entry and imitation processes).
Given the program’s nature, research in the field of Strategy will be heavily based on microeconomics (including game theory and industrial organization) and complemented by the recent advantages in management literature. Furthermore, the research will be supported by advanced identification and estimation techniques. Once the business strategies are chosen by the firms, attention must be devoted to solving problems involving endogeneity and self-selection. Note that much of the latest research in the literature on strategic management does not adequately address this problem. Therefore, there is a big opportunity for research in the Strategy line of the Doctoral Program in terms of helping to refine the empirical analysis of various business strategies.
Students in the Strategy line will have a relevant advantage in terms of microeconomic fundamentals and quantitative techniques for identifying the various factors that influence organizational performance.
Students can conduct research in four Strategy sub-areas:
- Analyzing competitive dynamics, market strategies and price formation factors within industries.
- Analyzing how firms establish their horizontal and vertical boundaries; i.e., which factors affect the corporate portfolio of businesses selected by the company.
- What are the implications of the internal organizational choices made by firms involving a set of aspects from decision and control rights to incentive contracts involving performance-based remuneration.
- How business strategies interact more broadly with the institutional environment (e.g., how firms respond to a weaker institutional context in terms of the protection of property rights or an uncertain regulatory environment).
Research field: Applied Microeconomics
The Applied Microeconomics line encompasses the areas related to labor economics, public sector economics, household economics, migration, international trade, development economics, public policy assessment and microeconometrics. These areas use theoretical and empirical models to understand the determinants of the behavior of households, companies and countries, especially in microeconomic aspects.
Research in the area of Applied Microeconomics makes intensive use of secondary data made available by government agencies, such as the National Institute for Educational Studies and Research (INEP) and the Brazilian Geography and Statistics Institute (IBGE), as well as sophisticated methods for modeling the determinants of companies’ productivity, the supply of labor, the quality of education and trade flows, for example. Furthermore, research of original fields may be conducted to collect primary data and for controlled interventions (experiments).
This line will also focus on the assessment of public policy, given Brazilian society’s current need for studies that are well founded in terms of methodology that examine the impact and social return of social programs and public policies on the lives of their beneficiaries, whether they be people, companies or regions.
Students choosing the field Applied Microeconomics will have a solid background in mathematics, statistics, economic theory and econometrics. They will be able to build new economic models at the forefront of economics and/or use large databases with econometric models to estimate causal relationships between microeconomic variables of interest to the company and to policymakers.
Research field: Finance
The Finance research line covers the discussion and analysis of economic growth processes and economic policy tools, the functioning and efficiency of financial asset markets, the selection of assets and portfolios by investors based on assumptions of their behavior and attitudes with regard to the risk and return tradeoff of assets and portfolio, including their influence on the price formation of these assets. In the case of companies, analyses are made of investment decisions, capital structure and distribution of profits from the standpoint of creating value for the investors involved, including the agency relationships inherent to the presence of different types of rights to the cash flows of the companies, as well as the costs and mitigation mechanisms found in reality.
The first important basic differential of students graduating in the Finance line will be the capacity to critically assess the leading literature in the area. Using the database, students should be able to develop new ways of explaining relevant phenomena, thanks to the formal theoretical foundation, as well as to propose tests of their explanations or of the explanations proposed in the literature, thanks to the econometric resources they acquire in the program. The areas in which students can develop include:
- Pricing of financial and real assets.
- Investor behavior in financial markets.
- Problems related to investment, financing and the distribution of profits
- Macroeconomic theory and models.
- Monetary and fiscal policy.