The idea of this course is to give the students a refresher of the basics of mathematics and statistics that they will need for the other courses of their master. Professors Bram De Rock and Marjorie Gassner will guide participants through a fast-paced exploration of:

  • How to write a proof: basic introduction to logical reasoning
  • Calculus
  • Topology
  • Linear algebra
  • Fundamentals of probability theory.

For more detailed information, download the course description.


This course by professor Phillipe Weil develops a coherent framework for analyzing the determination of macroeconomic variables such as national output, unemployment, interest rates, government debt and inflation. The course will also contribute to developing the skills needed for interpreting macroeconomic data and macroeconomic policy. One objective of the course is to provide a link between economic theory and current economic policy. Another objective is to provide students with the tools to analyze current macroeconomic policies.

This course by professors Micael Castanheira and Georg Kirchsteiger covers elements of modern microeconomics. It emphasizes the development of skills needed to evaluate the new generation of economic models, tools, and ideas as they apply to recent changes in our economy. Basic tools of game theory, asymmetric information, and modern general equilibrium price formation are introduced and applied to various topics. These topics include consumer and producer choice, decision under uncertainty, and resource allocation under different market structures such as competition, monopoly, and oligopoly. The course also focuses on some newer innovations to the theory, including the role of politics in the determination of economic policy, the impact of spillovers and network externalities in the information economy, and psychological and behavioral factors in individual decision making.

Skills acquired

  • Ability to analyze markets and price and quantity movements
  • Identify market inefficiencies
  • Understand behavior of different market and non-market agents, as well as their strategic interactions


  • Develop knowledge of microeconomic theory and behavioral economics
  • Understand how to play an active role in various markets
Political economy studies the determinants of public policy both at the macroeconomic and microeconomic levels. The main focus of this introductory course by professor Laurent Bouton is on the behavior of non-market agents such as legislatures, government agencies, judicial institutions, NGOs and activist groups, the media, and their interactions with traditional market agents (firms and consumers). Political economy develops systematic frameworks for understanding such behaviors and interactions. In many situations, non-market agents heavily influence the functioning of the market. For instance, emission standards affect virtually all aspects of automobile design and manufacturing, and thereby the competitive advantages of automakers. Political economy studies how elections, lobbying, information provision, and institutional specificities shape actual emission standards, which may thus differ from the socially optimal outcome.
This course by professors Frank Vella, Franco Peracchi, and John Rust first introduces students to fundamentals methods in Econometrics, which is the study of statistical tools used to estimate economic relationships. This begins with a discussion of the linear regression model. It then proceeds to introduce a number of topics relevant to the analysis of economic data. These include instrumental variables, discrete choice modeling, panel data analysis and program evaluation. Second, it ensures that the students achieve competence with a statistical software package such that they will be able to implement the methods taught in the first part of the course.


The course by Mathieu Parenti, Paola Conconi, and Tomas Garcia-Azcarate and is divided in three parts. The first part (taught by Mathieu Parenti) reviews the main theories of international trade, with the goal of  understanding why countries engage in trade, what determines their trade policies, which goods and services they export/import, and how these theories can be brought to the data to quantify the impact of trade liberalisation. The second part (taught by Paola Conconi) will cover the political economy of trade policy (discussing how electoral incentives and lobbying affect trade policy outcomes), firms’ internationalization strategies, and global supply chains (with a particular focus on the role of trade agreements). The third part (taught by Tomas Garcia-Azcarate) will cover the history of multilateral trade negotiations and EU trade agreements, examining both the trade and non-trade issues (e.g. labor and environmental standards, human right protection) that are included in them.

The course is a methods course, it teaches the “How to” of impact evaluation, it is applied and practical, providing students with the tools to evaluate the impact of public policy interventions. The focus is on the design of such interventions and is illustrated with examples from the field. We will also perform data analysis in STATA. Students will learn how to apply and when to apply the theory of change, and experimental as well as non-experimental evaluations. Policy relevance is a key focus of the course. “Running Randomized Evaluations” (Glennester and Takavarasha, 2013), Princeton University Press, is used as a the handbook for the course.

This course aims at helping students to develop a good understanding of industrial and development policies, and an awareness of their economic rationales and political determinants, both for developed and developing countries. During the course, we will also jointly explore how the institutional context of specific countries or areas (e.g. the EU, the United States, China, etc.) can shape the political-economic determinants of current industrial and development policies in these countries/areas. An important element of the second part of the course involves learning to evaluate and conduct empirical assessments of the effects of specific industrial and development policies, using the existing data sources and main statistical analysis software programs (e.g. Stata), as well as presenting the results of such assessments in clear and concise form (as policy reports and oral presentations) aimed at non-technical policy-oriented audiences.

This course explains the role and limits of government interventions in regulating market behavior by firms. The main emphasis will be on: (i) the sources of market power and the potential abuses of a dominant position by firms; (ii) strategies that firms may develop to circumvent competition, e.g., by colluding and how antitrust authorities can prevent this outcome; (iii) the role of industrial policy, state aids or subsidies to firms, in shaping market structure and competitiveness of an economy. The course also discusses the drivers of government failures in the design of regulation, including those resulting from interactions between economics and politics. By the end of the course, the participants should be able to plan and test arguments on the case for government intervention in regulating markets.


Time Series Econometrics is a masters-level course in time series econometrics. This course introduces the basic methods of time-series econometrics, explaining the major concepts and showing how these tools are used for analysis and forecasting of economic data. The course starts with some necessary background from statistics and reviews basic econometrics. Next, stationary, univariate ARMA (autoregressive moving-average) processes are covered. The attention then shifts to heteroskedasticity and modeling volatility. Then, nonstationary models and methods of testing for unit roots and estimating stochastic trends are covered. Multivariate time series models are treated next, especially VARs (vector autoregressions) and cointegration and common trend considerations. The course concludes with dynamic factor models and non-Gaussian/non-linear dynamics such as stochastic variance and regime switching models.

Public economics is about the role of government and quasi-government agencies, usually divided into regulation, taxing, and spending.

This course focuses on the application of economic concepts and methods to environmental issues, both in theory and in practice. The environment is strongly connected to the economy both as a source of inputs to the production of manufactured goods and as a sink for pollution from economic activities. Many environmental resources also serve as inputs to the “production” of human health and other aspects of overall well-being. However, most environmental resources are not privately owned and are typically not exchanged in traditional markets. This can lead to an over-production of pollution, over-extraction of nonrenewable resources, such as fossil fuels, and over-exploitation of renewable resources, such as fish or other wildlife species. In this course, students will learn how to design policies that can correct such market failures and improve environmental quality, human health, and economic efficiency.

This course offers an introduction to the burgeoning field of law and economics, or the application of microeconomic theory to positively and normatively assess various legal rules, regulations, and institutions as well as the incentives of economic agents (such as judges and criminals) operating within the legal system. Specific topics to be covered include the common law, contracts, torts, property, crime, and antitrust. Each of these topics will be supplemented with insights from the recent empirical literature. A significant portion of class assignments will involve collecting and analyzing real-world datasets. Readings will be drawn from several sources including the text, legal statues, court decisions, and the academic literature. The prerequisite for the course is Microeconomics; previous coursework in law is neither assumed nor required.

The energy industry is inextricably linked to political and regulatory systems that collectively identify and implement the government objectives for the energy industry, including economic incentives for investment and regulatory oversight and compliance. This course aims to develop an understanding of the economic fundamentals of traditional fossil fuels, power and renewables and emerging technologies, which are all going through substantial transformations. The course will develop an understanding of the influence of energy policies on the energy industry and detail the recent changes in policies and implications. It will also provide an overview of regulatory systems that implement the energy policies and address the significance of geopolitical and energy security.

This course will demonstrate the importance of the energy industry to the economy, energy infrastructure developments and energy and the environment considerations. The course will provide the U.S. perspective as well as selected discussions from other countries, Asia, Europe and others, to understand the global nature of the energy industry. The course will equip the students with the necessary skillset to critically think about our current and prospective energy industry, the economy and the environment.

This is a masters-level course in monetary theory and policy.  It surveys some of the key theoretical and empirical literature in monetary economics.  It also considers the conduct of monetary policy and other aspects of central banking both in relatively normal circumstances and in crisis conditions.  The course begins by reviewing the structure and functions of central banks and surveying some of the principal macroeconomic analytical tools for monetary policymaking. Then empirical evidence on the monetary aggregates is reviewed. Next, several models of the demand for money for transaction purposes are considered.  The interactions between monetary policy and fiscal policy are studied next.  Attention then turns to sticky price and wage models and related analyses.  Based on the analytical tools developed earlier in the course, more immediate monetary and financial policy questions are analyzed, including monetary policy formulation, communication, and implementation, with a particular view to issues raised by the recent financial crisis.  An important aspect of this course is a focus on current U.S. and international monetary policy and central banking policy.

The aim of this course is to provide students with the necessary understanding of major concepts and theories in the field of economic development that will allow them to analyze problems and policies in this area. In addition to the conceptual tools, we will also discuss recent papers in the literature and past as well as present policies in different areas of the world.

This course focuses on applying empirical and theoretical techniques used in international economics and macroeconomics to current academic and policy issues. The course is geared toward sharpening the skills of students who wish to proceed from the master’s program to economic analyst employment in either the private or public sectors.  In this course, we read academic journal articles and other materials, primarily studies from central banks such as the Federal Reserve and European Central Bank.  The primary objectives are assisting students in developing a facility with economic data; becoming knowledgeable about current issues in international economic policy; and providing them with actual research training befitting a high-quality economics professional.

Elective courses are generally taught by economists who work in government, international organizations, think tanks, consulting firms or other research positions in the Washington, D.C. area. These faculty members are highly experienced professionals who have deep expertise in the substantive areas in which they offer courses.

The elective courses typically entail textbook readings, readings from professional and academic journals, review of policy papers, and significant empirical work.

This course explores the experiences and outcomes of the individuals working within an economy. Labor markets comprise the suppliers of labor (workers), the demanders of labor (employers), and the resulting pattern of wages, employment, and income. This course is designed to introduce you to the theories and tools economists use to analyze labor markets, as well as some of the results yielded by this analysis. Particular areas of focus will include labor market discrimination and inequality, immigration, and the returns to education.

Urban Economics will analyze the economics of cities and urban areas and consider the implications of the location of economic actors. This course will also thoroughly discuss the considerable externalities of cities, both positive and negative, as well as public policy issues to alleviate or encourage the effects of those externalities.

Back to Political Economy

Practical information: Summary

  • Enrolments for August 2019 are open!

  • Starting date: August 2019

  • Location: Brussels & Washington, D.C.
  • Format: Full-time
    60 ECTS (US equivalent: 30 Credits)

  • Language: English
  • Tuition: $50,000
    (information on financial aid here)

  • Length: 12 months
  • Application deadline:
    > Non-EU students: 31 May 2019
    > EU students: 30 June 2019

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