Master's Degree in Specialized Economic Analysis: Economics of Public Policy Program

Program Director


Ada Ferrer-i-Carbonell

PhD, University of Amsterdam

IAE-CSIC and Barcelona GSE

The Economics of Public Policy Program provides students with the theoretical and empirical fundamentals to answer questions that impact entire populations.

How and why do particular public policies get implemented? How are they designed? How do we know if they work? Why are some policies more successful than others?

National-level finance and planning involves big numbers: pensions, health systems, income support, social programs, and so forth. Successful public policies can make all the difference for the lives of millions of individuals, with numbers and effects become much larger for developed countries and faster growing in developing ones.

Students will be drilled in commanding advanced empirical public policy evaluation tools, and will be ready to use these tools in practice.

Students will be exposed to the views of experts from fields other than Economics in order to build an appreciation for the multidisciplinary nature of public policy design and evaluation. A master's advisor will guide each student in completing an independent master's project by the end of the program, allowing specialization in a policy topic of the student's choice.

Our graduates will be prepared to take on analytical positions at public institutions, international organizations, consulting firms, research institutions, and think tanks.

Graduates will also be well-prepared to pursue advanced post-graduate study of Policy or Economics.

Program schedule: 

The course offer displayed is for the current academic year (2020-21). Course offer is subject to change.

  • In the first term, students will have the opportunity to take a brush-up course in Mathematics and Statistics. This courses is not mandatory but highly recommended to assure a smooth start.
  • In the second term, students will have the opportunity to take a course in Text mining and web scraping with R. This course is not mandatory, but highly recommended.
  • A master project, which will be supervised in regular meetings with an advisor, will allow each student to put their knowledge into practice and improve their writing and exposition skills.
  • Students must complete 60 ECTS by the end of the program (51 ECTS in mandatory courses and 9 ECTS in elective courses).

Course offer is subject to change.

Term 1: Ciutadella Campus (September - December)

Course Title Credits Professor(s)
Mandatory courses:
Microeconomics (Markets, Strategies and Information) 6

Pau Olivella
Ramon Caminal

Public Economics I: Market Failures, Taxation and Social Insurance 3

Pau Milán

Macroeconomics: Public Finance 3 Raül Santaeulàlia-Llopis
Quantitative and Statistical Methods I 6 Javier Gómez Biscarri
Elective courses:
Public Policy: Health and Education 3 Caterina Calsamiglia

Term 2: Bellaterra Campus (January - March)

Course Title Credits Professor(s)
Mandatory courses:
Labor Markets 3 Lídia Farré
Public Economics II: Incentives and Equity 3 Jordi Massó
Xavi Ramos
Quantitative and Statistical Methods II 6 Joan Llull
Elective courses:
Cost-Benefit Analysis 3 Pere Riera
Foundations of Data Science 3 Omiros Papaspiliopoulos (TBD)
Political Economy 3 Ursula Mello
Hannes Mueller

Term 3: Ciutadella Campus (April - June)

All courses in the spring term are mandatory.

Course Title Credits Professor(s)
Master Project 6 Ada Ferrer-i-Carbonell
Topics in Applied Econometrics for Public Policy 6 Jaume García-Villar
Social Economics 3 Giacomo de Giorgi
Ada Ferrer-i-Carbonell
Policy LessonsPolicy Lessons are shared by all programs in the Master's in Specialized Economic Analysis. Students must choose two Policy Lessons among those organized by any of the programs (Competition, EPP, ITFD, and Macro) 3 Albert Bravo-Biosca
Juan F. Jimeno
Population Economics 3 Alícia Adserà

Master's degree awarded

Upon successful completion of the program, students will receive a Master's Degree in Specialized Economic Analysis awarded jointly with Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB) and Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF).

All Barcelona GSE Master's degrees have been recognized by the Catalan and Spanish Education authorities within the framework of the Bologna Process (in Spanish, “Master Universitario o Master Oficial”).

Quality indicators

What skills and knowledge will I acquire in this program?
  • Confidence in examining and discussion of Economic theory behind the design and evaluation of public policies
  • Applied analysis in Microeconomics, Macroeconomics, Information Economics, Game Theory, and Political Economy
  • Command of state-of-the-art empirical tools to evaluate policies and impacts
  • Expert knowledge of institutional framework contexts where public policies are designed and implemented
  • Ability to communicate in written technical and non-technical policy reports based on multidisciplinary approaches
Who will benefit from this program?
  • Students with Business Administration, Economics, International Relations, Political Science, Public Policy, or Statistical backgrounds
  • Junior analysts or professionals from the workforce looking to upgrade their analytical skills
  • Aspiring PhD students who want to build a solid foundation

Student profile in more detail

Who hires Economics of Public Policy graduates?
  • Consulting Firms
  • Financial Services
  • Government & Authorities
  • International Organizations / Non-profits
  • Research & Academic Institutions
  • Other Industries

Examples of recent placements:

  • AIREF − Research Assistant − Madrid, Spain
  • Arizona State University - PhD Student - Tempe, AZ, United States
  • Banco de España − Research Assistant − Madrid, Spain
  • Dotecon − Junior Consultant − London, United Kingdom
  • European University Institute (EUI) - PhD Student - Florence, Italy
  • Hudson Institute − Economic Policy Research Intern − Washington DC, United States
  • International Initiative for Impact Evaluation (3ie) − Consultant − Delhi, India
  • Ministry of Tourism of Mexico − Director of Tourist Regulation − Mexico City, Mexico
  • Nudge4 Solutions Lab at the University of Virginia − Research Assistant − Charlottesville, VA, United States
  • ODI − Fellow Scheme − Banjul, The Gambia
  • Ontario Trillium Foundation − Project Evaluation Analyst − Ontario, Canada
  • PwC − Economic Consultant − Amsterdam, Netherlands
  • Resolution Foundation − Economic Researcher − London, United Kingdom
  • Rhode Island Innovative Policy Lab at Brown University − Economic Analyst − Providence, RI, United States
  • SIRIS Academic − Junior Consultant − Barcelona, Spain

Alumni career paths in more detail



Public Policy Student Profile 2020-21

12 students from 10 countries (92% international)

Most represented countries this year:

  • Italy (3)

Most common academic backgrounds:

  • Economics


EPP alumni career paths

An overview of EPP career paths for recent cohorts

  • Most EPP alumni (90%) enter or return to the professional work force
    10% continue their education in a PhD or other post-graduate program
  • Most common industries:
    Research and Academic Institutions, Government and Authorities, Consulting
  • Cities with most Public Policy alumni:
    Barcelona, London, Madrid
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    Agrima Sahore '19

    Originally fromIndia
    Currently living inIndia
    The Master's is a wholesome experience, teaching you more than just what's part of the course work. Barcelona is also a wonderful city to live in, and the coming together of people from all parts of the world is truly amazing! The faculty is top notch, approachable and great with students!
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    Benjamin Anderson '15

    Data Strategist
    Originally from
    Asheville, NC
    United States
    Currently living in
    Durham, NC
    United States
    The expertise in quantitative methods and economics of public policy knowledge that I gained at BGSE is essential to help bridge the communication and information gap between empirical evidence and the decision-making of practitioners. These skills enable me to develop strategies and draw conclusions with confidence when consulting with partners.
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    Hyosung Jung '15

    Research Associate
    Originally from
    Ottawa, ON
    Currently living in
    Boston, MA
    United States
    The Barcelona GSE connected me with experts in my area of interest. Through these connections I was able to get in touch with some very interesting data for my research project later on in the program.
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    Yi-Ting Kuo '15

    Data Administrator
    Originally fromTaiwan
    Currently living in
    Thanks to the rigorous training at the Barcelona Graduate School of Economics, my approach to data administration is meticulous and analytical.
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    Rebecca Lavinson '14

    Policy Associate
    Originally from
    Princeton, NJ
    United States
    Currently living in
    Washington, DC
    United States
    The Barcelona GSE gave me the start I needed to pursue the work that I am passionate about. It provided me with the skills necessary to succeed at my first job at the OECD, and doing my Master’s in such an international environment was a good signal for employers that I could adjust to any type of work environment.
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    Aleka Pappa '14

    Junior Research Fellow / Think Tank Young Professional Development Program
    Originally from
    Currently living in
    The master program in Economics of Public Policy has been a great asset to me with its distinctive combination of a solid foundation in economic theory with the applied aspect – all accompanied by the teaching of world-class professors.
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    Vanessa Behrens '13

    Economics and Statistical Analysis
    Originally from
    Currently living in
    The ability to interpret scientific research papers has helped me grasp the economics of innovation and firm behavior in the context of intellectual property. The state-of-the-art econometric techniques and focus on policy issues will prove to be particularly useful when I am undertaking applied research in the near future.
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    Sam Juthani '13

    Originally from
    United Kingdom
    Currently living in
    United Kingdom
    Having a tool-set that allows you to think clearly and logically through a position, and the potential pitfalls, is invaluable, and these were continually reinforced with each class that I took in the Economics of Public Policy master's program.