Professor of Microeconomics and Game Theory
María Sáez studied at the London School of Economics and Political Sciences where she obtained the title of Master of Sciences (MSc) and at University College London where she obtained the title of Doctor in Philosophy (PhD 1995). Since then she has held academic positions at Universitat Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona, Stockholm School of Economics and at the University of London. Her current research topics are game theory and microeconomics with special emphasis on preference formation and the role of cultural transmission in economics.
This line of research is in contrast with traditional economic theory which assumes that preferences are given and exogenous. Recent empirical evidence emphasizes the importance of family and socio-environmental factors at an early age in shaping values and non-cognitive skills that are important determinants of economic success. In addition, policy experiments conducted in some countries suggest, also in contrast with the predictions of standard economy theory, that public campaigns and educational programs aimed at changing values can have significant long run effects. While all this is consistent with non-economic "cultural" explanations, such theories usually ignore economic incentives and their conclusion are often nearly tautological.