Electives (Spring Term)

The Masters in Political Economy Program will offer the following elective courses in the Spring term in Brussels at the Solvay School.

International Trade

Professors: Paola Conconi and Mathieu Parenti

Description: The course is divided in four parts. The first part is dedicated to understanding why countries engage in international trade and what determines which goods and services they export/import. The second part focuses on firms, with the goal of understanding the behavior of individual exporters, importers, and multinationals. The third part covers trade policy. This part sheds light on the reasons why, notwithstanding the gains from having an open multilateral trading system, nations often resort to tariffs, quotas, and other non-tariff barriers. The final part of the course covers various topics, including the proliferation of regional trade agreements, the impact of international trade on labor markets and on the environment, the increasing fragmentation of production processes across countries, and the fiscal optimization strategies of multinationals. 


Public Policy Workshop: Financing Infrastructure, Education, and Development

Professors: Antonio Estache and Gani Aldashev

Description: This course explains the role and limits of government interventions in the delivery and financing of public services. The main emphasis will be on: (i) the identification of most common market failures and the options available for government to address them; (ii) the choice and design of general and sector financing options; (iii) the optimal assignment of expenditure and revenue across government levels. The course also discusses the drivers of government failures in the design of public policies, including those resulting from interactions between economics and politics. By the end of the course, the participants should be able to formulate and evaluate arguments on the case for government intervention and the scope for financing in a wide range of policy issues, taking into account the political constraints of specific contexts.


Design and Measurement of the Impact of Public Policies

Professor: Philip Verwimp and Tatiana Goetghebeur

Description: This 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, not on the econometric analysis of endline data. Students will learn how to apply and when to apply the theory of change, randomized evaluations, regression discontinuity design and statistical matching. The handbook for the course is “Running Randomized Evaluations” (R.Glennester and K.Takavarasha, Princeton University Press, 2013). The course will feature assignments and include guest lectures by professional evaluators and scholars.


Agricultural and Food Policy

Professor: Tomas Garcia-Azcarate

Description:This course aims to be an active introduction to the most senior European policy, the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), and its historical role in the European policy making. It is composed of 2 parts:

  1. Descriptive part: Why an agricultural policy? Why a Common agricultural policy? Why this first CAP (from 1958 to 1992)? The different CAP reform and their political economy (from 1992 to 2015)? Special focus on the Uruguay Round negotiation (Why the success?) and the Doha Round (Why the failure?) Which challenges today: from an agricultural policy to a food and territorial policy?
  2. Active part: we will simulate am European agricultural negotiation. Students will be divided in several groups and will play the role of the major Member States, the main lobbies and the main European institution. The issue discussed and negotiated would be chosen by the group between the 2 following: the agricultural main elements of a TTIP negotiation or the CAP post 2020.

Innovation and Science and Technology Policy

Professor: Bruno Van Pottelsberghe

Description: The Innovation and Science and Technology policies make an in-depth assessment of innovation and science policies. The various tools and their effectiveness are critically analysed, including the funding of basic research, science programmes management, R&D tax credit policies, publicly-funded business R&D, patent policies. The analytical approach is essentially empirical and international.


Core Courses (Fall Term)  Electives (Summer Term)