What we do

The Centre for Market Design (CMD) is a research centre jointly funded by the Commonwealth Treasury, the Victorian Department of Treasury and Finance and the University of Melbourne, until December 2017.

We support policy innovation by applying economic design techniques to public policy, procurement and resource allocation problems. We have particular expertise in mechanism design, auction theory, matching markets, experimental economics, and structural econometrics.

The CMD was created specifically to build capabilities needed in economic design and to harness these ideas and techniques to create solutions to ‘real world’ public policy problems. Visit our Research and Policy pages to find out more about our work.

How we do it

Policy research

We provide governments with practical policy advice informed by economic theory and based on evidence.

We apply economic design approaches to real world problems in areas including: Procurement – developing cost-effective mechanisms to allow governments to purchase goods and services, Natural resources – improving natural resources allocation with the benefit of higher royalty collections, Health – designing matching processes that improve access to kindergarten and university placements, Regulation – identifying cost-effective regulatory environments for business, Environment – designing cost-effective programs, and Human services – designing new approaches to enable people with special needs to find appropriate services at low cost.

The CMD tests and refines policy mechanisms in the experimental economics laboratory (EMU) before they are applied in real world situations.

We have close links with the Caltech laboratory and run many experimental sessions in collaboration with Caltech.

Fundamental research

We sponsor fundamental research on topics that are of core interest to our university and government partners.

This research is undertaken by economic theorists, experimental economists, and econometricians. We support academic positions, sponsor visitors, workshops and conferences, and provide financial support to emerging researchers to pursue innovative ideas and solutions.

Areas of current interest include; petrol markets and regulatory issues, the economics of innovation, law and economics, implementation theory and practical implementation mechanisms, combinatorial auction design, and contract theory.

Capacity building

We build awareness of market and economic design in the public sector.

We achieve this by linking stakeholders within government and academia at conferences, workshops and seminars, and through presentations delivered directly to government.

A major new CMD initiative is the development of our executive education program, which aims to build policy makers’ awareness of market and economic design. A CMD-run Specialist Certificate in Economic Design has been approved by the University of Melbourne for commencement in May 2016.

Communications & engagement

We share knowledge and promote market design solutions for procurement, as well as other government decision-making requirements.

We work closely with state and commonwealth government agencies, researchers from local and international universities, and organisations with an interest in market design research and applications.

Our website offers useful information and resources to promote awareness of market design and support decision-makers. If you would like to find out more about our policy projects, research, resources, or workshops, contact our Communications and Engagement Manager: nicole.mustedanagic@unimelb.edu.au