Fields of study

The courses of the program are structured around 2 main themes:

1. Macroeconomics and Trade Policies

The Macroeconomics theme addresses the issues of stabilization and structural adjustment. It focuses on the determinants of the balance of payments, the domestic growth rate, the employment level and structure, the inflation rate, public sector accounts and external debt. Particular attention is devoted to the interaction between exchange rates, interest rates, monetary and fiscal policy instruments and the real sector of the economy. Country experiences are used to assess the relative costs of adjusting or not adjusting unsustainable policies in the face of external constraints, as well as to evaluate the contribution of various policy regimes or macroeconomic policy packages to the policy makers’ objective of sustainable and balanced growth.

The program studies also the opportunities and constraints confronted by an economy when it integrates into the world market economy. Special attention is devoted to such themes as the relation between economic growth and international trade, the role of multinational firms, the localization of activities, the management of adjustment costs after trade shocks.  Trade and policy aspects are also analyzed : the strategic behavior of firms and governments and the role of regional and supra-regional organizations.


2. Development and Institutions

The classes offered in this field cover the key topics in development economics today. The topics include:

  • Poverty: We discuss key concepts and measures of poverty and inequality. We examine the current situation of poverty in the world and conduct a critical analysis of the Millennium Development Goals.
  • Microfinance: We study the role of formal and informal lending institutions in developing countries and discuss whether microfinance can be considered a "revolution" in development.
  • Education: We examine the decision to invest in education at a micro and macro level and discuss what we know today about the returns to education.
  • Gender issues: We present Amartya Sen's analysis of missing women. We discuss discrimination at the level of households and study the main decision models including intra-household bargaining.
  • The links between poverty and the environment: After an introduction to environmental economics and its key concepts, we examine what we know today about the relationships between development, poverty and the environment.
  • The role of institutions in development: Different economic approaches to institutions are presented, discussed and illustrated. Modes of transactions, contracts, informal arrangements and social norms receive particular attention. The underlying functions of economizing on transaction costs, overcoming incentive problems and providing coordination are highlighted. Two important fields of application of institutional analysis are covered in more details: systems of property rights and agrarian contracts.


Each topic is covered in formal lectures and emphasis is put on policy responses to central problems in development today. Each class also provides students with essential methods and tools that can be applied in a wide range of economic problems. In particular, students learn how to compute and assess poverty measures, how to conduct a cost-benefit analysis and a rigorous impact evaluation and how to address the issue of institutional choice in specific situations. Various personal works provide opportunities to apply these tools.