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Public Policy (Economics)
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The programme 

Public Policy is one of the tracks of the Master's Economics. During your Master's you will follow 3 general courses and 4 track-specific courses. You can specialise in either fiscal policy and human development, or the more market regulation-oriented competition policy and natural resource economics. You will finish your Master's with a thesis. 

  • Macroeconomics
    Period 1

    In this course you will learn about modern macroeconomic models. You will learn how to use these models to explain and evaluate recent events and policy interventions. For example, the effect of uncertainty on savings, welfare and investment, the causes and nature of unemployment and inflation and the role of monetary and fiscal authorities.

  • Microeconomics and Game Theory
    Period 1

    In this course you will learn to understand the workings and limitations of the market. You will learn how to analyse consumer and producer behaviour and how to use basic game theory. The central question is: what can markets do and when do they fail? What determines the outcome, and how does that depend on market structure?

  • Applied Econometrics
    Period 1
    Period 2

    In this course you will learn about regression analysis. In applied economics this is a powerful tool to analyse empirical relationships. You will learn how to interpret estimation and testing results and build a satisfactory empirical model. You will follow lectures and take part in lab sessions to acquire practical econometric skills by making computer exercises.

  • Public Economics
    Period 2

    In this course you will discuss topics related to public decision-making processes and policies with a focus on inequality and redistribution. How do individual preferences translate into collective decisions? Also you will investigate redistributive policies, with a central role for the trade-off between efficiency and equality. Throughout the course you will discuss the latest scientific results and current debates on hot topics such as a universal basic income.

  • Empirical Market Analysis
    Period 3

    In this course, we discuss methods for identifying the type and intensity of competition in a particular industry. We ask whether we can tell from market outcomes if firms pose genuine competitive constraints on each other or instead possess significant market power. In other words, we discuss methods to determine whether we can use data to discriminate between collusive outcomes, competing firms acting as oligopolies, or outcomes which sufficiently approximate perfect competition.

  • Choose 1 of 2 electives
    Period 3

    Choose Advanced Industrial Organisation or Policy Evaluation: Development and Public Policy.

  • Choose 2 of 4 electives
    Period 4

    Choose between Competition Policy, Human Development, Natural Resource Economics and Public Finance and Fiscal Policy.

  • Research Seminar
    Period 4
    Period 5
  • Thesis
    Period 1
    Period 2
    Period 5
    Period 6

    The academic programme culminates in a thesis, which allows you to engage with state-of-the-art data analysis and statistical techniques. The Master’s thesis is the final requirement for your graduation. It is your chance to dive deep into a topic in your field of choice (track) that you are enthusiastic about, and allows you to do an independent research project. A professor of your track will supervise and support you in writing your thesis.

Compulsory course

Honours Programme

If you are a student of the Master's Economics and you have a record of academic excellence, a critical mind and an enthusiasm for applied research, then our Economics Honours programme is a great opportunity for you.

Real-life case: information for intervention

Even when well-intended, not all policy interventions have been successful. Some have even failed miserably. How does economics provide governments information for intervention? How can a policy adviser identify which policies may actually work? Learn about current debates and how to formulate your own position using modern research methods from applied econometrics, industrial organisation and microeconomic theory.

Copyright: Nee
This Master's perfectly blends my two passions: economics and policy analysis. It's a challenging programme, that teaches you hard and soft skills. Anouk Roethof Read about Anouk's experiences with this Master's

Contemporary issues

Examples of current newspaper headlines and contemporary issues that could be discussed in your classroom.

  • Why couldn’t competitive markets resolve basic scarcity problems in the emerging pandemic? The case of PPEs.
  • How to restructure BigTech platforms in order to isolate and control their market power? Smart cuts.
  • Why has income and wealth inequality exploded over the past decades and can taxation help reducing it? Taxing the top 1%.
  • Why are unregulated markets generating excessive pollution and which public policies can help reducing it? The Dutch ban on sales of single-use plastics. 
  • Why does no alternative to Facebook develop that commits to not harvest users data? The Digital Markets Act.
  • What is the rationale behind mandatory public health insurance? The 2014 US regulation forbidding private insurances to deny coverage on the base of pre-existing conditions.
Add extra value to your studies
Frequently asked questions
  • When do I need to select a specialisation track?

    A specialisation track must be chosen when applying for the Master’s programme. However, track modifications are still possible until late October. The criteria for all tracks are identical and do not impact the likelihood of being accepted into the programme.

  • How many students are accepted into the programme?

    Our Master’s programme admits around 25 students per specialisation track. If you meet the entry requirements, you will always be accepted; this Master’s does not have a numerus fixus.

  • What are the weekly contact hours?

    Most courses have one 2-hour lecture and one 2-hour tutorial per week. Some courses also offer a Q&A or self-study clips. Generally, students take 3 courses at a time, so count on about 12-15 contact hours per week.

  • Will all lectures be held in person, or will there be options for online attendance?

    Only the 3 courses (microeconomics & game theory, macroeconomics, and applied econometrics) at the beginning of the year use (online) clips. In addition to clips, these 3 courses offer weekly on-campus tutorials and Q&As. All other courses are fully taught on campus, so in person. Some courses even have mandatory participation, especially for tutorials.

  • Is attendance compulsory for lectures, tutorials, and other sessions?

    Attendance usually is not compulsory for lectures, but commonly for tutorials and other sessions. Students greatly benefit from being present and engaging in discussions with both the instructor and their fellow classmates.

  • What is the typical method of assessment for most courses?

    Most courses have a combination of a written on-site exam and additional assessment methods, including oral presentations, developing research proposals, conducting experiments, and writing up results. The written on-site exam often makes up most of the grade. Finally, some courses require attendance, which is reflected by presence and activity in tutorials and online assignments.