During the 2016-17 academic year, students at the University of Malta’s Economics Department will be conducting their research dissertations on pertinent topics related to transport, health, culture, labour, real estate and industrial economics, as well as on the economics of growth and wellbeing. This was announced at a seminar at the University’s Valletta campus at which the students presented outlines of research projects they intend to work on and explained the rationale and approach of their research.

Chairing the seminar, Dr Marie Briguglio noted that the students had clearly understood that economic research needs to be original, scientific and relevant, and that their choice of topics captured some of the key priorities for policy intervention in the Maltese islands.

Students will be examining the effects of changes in price on transport patterns, such as subsidising public transport and introducing parking meters. Others will set out to examine the effect of lifestyles on productivity, the determinants of obesity and the demand for health services.

The effect of governance on wellbeing, the effect of the financial crisis on growth, the phenomenon of negative interest rates and of asset purchases by banks are other topics that will be examined by students this year.

Some students will look at specific markets, such as those for Malta-made products, for air travel and for cultural goods and services. Others will question why Maltese wages are low, and whether there is a property bubble.

Department head Dr Philip Von Brockdorff said the standard of dissertations in economics has been considered very positively by external examiners in recent years.