During the final weeks of the spring term, students in all of the Barcelona GSE programs complete a master project. The projects give students a chance to explore a specific topic of interest, bringing to bear the new perspective and tools they have gained after an intense year of analytic training.
Projects tailored for each program
While all master programs compliment coursework and seminars with a project, the format of the project varies by program and often emulates the type of work that graduates will be expected to produce in their careers beyond graduation.
In the Macroeconomic Policy and Financial Markets Program, for example, students participate in a closing conference that includes the presentation and discussion of students’ applied work on topics such as forecasting in the US housing market or exchange rates and inflation in Brazil. Competition and Market Regulation students deliver an economic report from the point of view of a practitioner in the public or private sector. The report could include analysis of a regulated market, identification of collusion in a cartel, or other areas of the economics and law of competition policy.
Because of the interdisciplinary nature of the Economics of Science and Innovation Program, its master projects can take several different forms. Some students will analyze and compare innovation systems from different countries; others will do some more theoretical work on R&D. Still others will start to develop their own business ideas.
Building a strong case...with one arm?
In the International Trade, Finance and Development Program, teams of students write and present a policy memo to classmates and program faculty. Part of the challenge is to anticipate counterarguments from the audience, which is good practice for future meetings with decision makers.
"The idea is to reverse the normal, analytical process where you start with a lit survey and then add gradually some nuggets of knowledge before hedging your conclusions in the summary at the end," program director Prof. Joachim Voth (CREI and GSE) remarked in a blog post about the program's master projects.
Prof. Voth hopes that students will emerge from the master year as the type of economists that former U.S. President Harry S. Truman longed to have among his policy advisors.
"Harry Truman allegedly said that he wanted to meet a one-armed economist, so as to spare himself the endless 'on the one hand...on the other hand' that our profession can produce. Well, one of our aims is to breed Truman's favorite type of economists," Prof. Voth said.
Sample master projects: International Trade, Finance and Development
Sample master projects: Economics of Science and Innovation
"The Effectiveness of Federal Incentive Policies on Innovation in Biotechnology Companies in Brazil during the last decade"
“Environmental policies assessment for the R&D performance of the markets with network externalities”
Sample master projects: Finance
"Options pricing using jump processes"
"Costs and benefits of high frequency trading"
"Government debt and corporate liquidity management"