Core Courses (Fall Term)

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

Mathematical Methods (2 weeks)

Professors: Bram De Rock and Marjorie Gassner

Description:

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.

Macroeconomics

Professor: Philippe Weil

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.


Microeconomics

Professors: Micael Castanheira and Georg Kirchsteiger

Description: 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

Goals

  • Develop knowledge of microeconomic theory and behavioral economics
  • Understand how to play an active role in various markets

Political Economy

Professors: Laurent Bouton

Description: 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.


Data Analysis 

Professors: Francis Vella

Description: This course is an introduction to the basic concepts and tools of data analysis. Its goal is to enable students to conduct their own empirical research using a standard statistical package. The first part of the course emphasizes practical aspects of implementation using specific statistical software, while the second part emphasizes fundamental ideas such as sampling and nonsampling error, statistical modeling, alternative approaches to estimation, hypothesis testing and model selection, simulation and resampling methods, and issues arising with high-dimensional data. Hands-on exercises and a group research project using actual economic data represent an integral part of the course.


Course of Study  Electives (Spring Term)