Programme overview

Policy Economics
Student smiling at the camera

The curriculum of the master programme in Policy Economics provides students with economic theory and empirical tools that are essential to become an outstanding policy economist. Core courses of this programme are Advanced Public Economics, Applied Econometrics, and Advanced Macro-economics. Furthermore, students can follow either Economics of Organisations, Industrial Organisation or Advanced Money, Credit and Banking.

Furthermore, students can choose from several elective courses: Policy Issues in Public Spending on Labour, Education and Health, Advanced Political Economy, and Advanced Development Economics.

The master programme also provides two large and intensive seminars. In the first seminar students become familiar with a wide array of applied research techniques (econometric methods of policy evaluation, cost-benefit analysis and field experiments) while discussing recent cases in policy evaluation. For the second seminar students can choose between the Seminar Economic Policy or the Seminar Quantitative Macro-economics.

The Seminar Economic Policy is devoted to analysing highly relevant policy issues. The Seminar Economic Policy changes every year to study policy issues that are most pressing at that time. In past years, the subjects were: the euro crisis, the Great Recession, globalisation, income inequality, and taxation of the wealthy and multinationals. In the Seminar Quantitative Macro-economics you learn how to analyse and estimate modern macroeconomic models. The last part of the master is devoted to writing the master’s thesis.

In many courses and seminars, you will work together with fellow students on assignments and papers. Moreover, during the seminars you will give presentations on your work or the course materials.


The curriculum consists of:

  • 29% Applications
  • 33% Theory
  • 38% Empirics

In class

In an assignment for Advanced Public Economics you are going to calculate how high the income tax rate should be at each income level for a country of your choice. You will work in groups of two students. To make your calculations, you will use an Excel programme that contains the optimal tax model of Nobelprize winner James Mirrlees. Use the programme to calculate the tax schedule for your country and explain why the tax schedule looks the way it does.

Study schedule

The Take-Off is the introduction event for all new students of Erasmus School of Economics. During this interesting introduction event, you will be provided with useful practical information and receive an introduction to your studies, meet your fellow students and our School.

  • Sampling
  • Regression and Prediction (OLS, Lasso, etc.)
  • Causal Inference (Differences-in-Differences, Instrumental Variables, Regression Discontinuity)
  • Panel Data (Random Effects, Fixed Effects, Dynamic Panels)
  • Limited Dependent Variables (Probit, Logit, Poisson, etc.)

This course is concerned with normative public economics. A choice is made each year from the following topics:

  • The first and second welfare theorems
  • The theory of second-best and dead-weight loss
  • Optimal non-linear income tax
  • Optimal participation taxes
  • Optimal indirect taxes
  • Optimal capital income taxes
  • Optimal participation taxes
  • Optimal taxes/subsidies on human capital and provision of education
  • Optimal provision of public goods and social cost-benefit analysis
  • Optimal corrective (environmental) taxes/regulation
  • Optimal minimum wage policies

The course links the optimal tax principles to actual policy discussions, for example, the flat-tax debate, the optimal progressivity of the income tax, the top rate of the income tax, taxation of capital incomes, greening the tax system, discussions on the optimal size of the public sector, the role of the government in (higher) education, etc.

Students choose one of the listed courses:

  • Advanced Money, Credit and Banking
  • Economics of Organisations
  • Industrial Organisation
  • Advanced Political Economics

Students choose one of the listed courses and one of the remaining Electives 1 or 2 or one other Economics and Business master’s course, with the exception of the core courses from the specialisation Data Science and Marketing Analytics:

  • Advanced Development Economics
  • Policy Issues in Public Spending on Education, Health and Labour
  • Taxation of Multinationals
  • Inequalities and Discrimination in Labour Markets

  • The macroeconomics of consumption and saving
  • Modern macroeconomic business cycle analysis
  • Modern macroeconomic models

Students choose one of the listed seminars:

  • Seminar Cases in Policy Evaluation
  • Seminar Quantitative Macroeconomics

Students choose one of the listed seminars:

  • Seminar Economic Policy
  • Seminar Economics of Migration

The thesis is an individual assignment about a subject from your Master's specialisation. More information about thesis subjects, thesis supervisors and the writing process can be found on the Master thesis website.

The overview above provides an impression of the curriculum for this programme for the academic year 2023-2024. It is not an up-to-date study schedule for current students. They can find their full study schedules on MyEUR. Please note that minor changes to this schedule are possible in future academic years.

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