Master in Economics and Public Policy

Stock market prices ©katjen/ShutterstockThe two-year Master’s programme with a stream in "Economics and Public Policy" is taught exclusively in English and open to candidates with a previous undergraduate degree. This curriculum focused on public economics to become decision-makers in economic policy and public finance in both the public and the private sector at a national, European and international level.

Description and aims of the Master in Economics and public policy

The Economics and Public Policy stream is an option available to students of two Master’s programmes: the Master in Public Policy and the Master in European Affairs.
Both programmes are structured around core courses offering in-depth, comparative and overarching knowledge within the field of public affairs, combining economic, legal, ethical, historical, political, managerial and digital approaches.

The Master in Public Policy focuses on issues of governance in contemporary society and current economic challenges. Broad knowledge of these fields is complemented by theoretical and practical skills in negotiation and project management.

Meanwhile, the Master in European Affairs centres on the study of EU institutions and their management, from an economic perspective and in terms of European political integration and regulation.

Students of the Economics and Public Policy stream become highly qualified economists. They gain rigorous analytical and professional skills, applied to a variety of public policies, from competition policy, employment or economic development to monetary, financial, fiscal, social or environmental policy. In addition, the policy stream adopts the interdisciplinary approach needed to understand and find solutions to economic policy challenges through courses in political science, political economy, law, regulation, governance and management. Students acquire academic expertise and professional skills through case studies, capstone projects and optional courses in specific fields of economic policy.

> Read the full programme page for the economics and public finance policy stream.

> Find out more about School of Public Affairs’ programmes.

Structure of the program in public economics

Year 1 – Economics and Public Policy stream

In the first year of the programme, students take courses specific to the Economics and Public Policy stream (Math Camp, Public Economics advanced level, Policy Analysis and Policy Evaluation advanced level, Economics & Law, Macroeconomics for Public Policy, Behavioural Policy, Public Policy Evaluation), complemented by core courses for all Master’s students at the School of Public Affairs (Public Economics or European Law; Governance, Democracy and Public Policy; Management, Project Management and Negotiations or Public Policy Incubator). They then choose additional options from a wide range of elective courses, optional courses and general academic training.

Year 2 – Economics and Public Policy stream

The teaching in the second year, still conducted in English, addresses political economy, econometrics, global economic governance and international taxation. Students also work on a case study that immerses them in a complex problem-solving scenario. These studies give them an inside glimpse of the different phases and facets involved in designing and implementing a public policy.

Students hoping to pass recruitment exams for the senior civil service in France or Europe also have the opportunity of taking optional specialised courses (in public law, general knowledge, international issues etc.). During the fourth and final semester of the programme, students can choose to put their skills into practice and gain professional experience by completing an internship, or deepen their expertise in a particular field by writing a Master’s thesis. They can also use this semester to add new academic perspectives to their study via a study abroad in a partner university.

The programme is complemented by general academic training, core courses specific to the chosen Master’s programme, elective courses, optional courses, as well as language classes.

Students also have the option of spending the second year of their Master’s completing an apprenticeship (apprentissage).

Throughout the two years of the Master’s, students can participate in the numerous  opportunities offered by the School of Public Affairs’ Policy Lab (the Public Policy Incubator, simulations, Gender Studies Certification, etc.). All programmes at the Lab are designed to train students to find creative and concrete solutions to public affairs related issues and challenges, while working to improve the life of citizens and enhance the operations of administrative bodies or companies.

> Browse module options for the Economics Master's track.

Courses specific to the Economics programme

  • Public Economics, advanced level (in English): The course will address the following themes: introduction to public economics, microeconomic results, causes of market failure, types of public good, taxation, etc.
  • Economics and Law (in English): How can the economy help to design efficient laws and assess the impact of changes in legal institutions? The course addresses topics such as: law enforcement and criminal law, property law, intellectual property, tort law and contracts. Students will be introduced to a variety of policy applications and study the ways in economics can be used to solve policy-related problems in the light of recent academic research in the field.
  • Macroeconomics for public policy (in English): This course provides a broad introduction to modern macroeconomics, beginning with an overview of the founding pillars. At its core are three overarching objectives:
    • To discover, understand and read some of the classic contributions to macroeconomics from the last 50 years;
    • To become familiar with economic reasoning;
    • To acquire practical technical skills; learn where to source macroeconomic data and how to analyse this data.
  • Behavioural Policy (in English): Recent research in economics and psychology has shown that individual and collective behaviour depends not only on economic incentives and constraints but also on psychological factors. Developments in the field of behavioural economics have influenced the way economists think about public policy, as behavioural aspects are now taken into account in highly varied areas of public intervention. This course will introduce some of the key insights of behavioural economics and the ways in which these have been used to improve policy decision-making.
  • Public policy evaluation (in English): This course aims to equip students with a range of specific skills that will enable them to undertake public policy impact evaluation. Too often, policies are implemented without adequate evaluation. This makes it impossible to say what the impact of a particular policy has been in either the short or the long term. The course will give students the statistical skills they need to evaluate public policies: it does so by applying these skills in a real-world policy evaluation context. As such, the course focuses both on experimental evaluation (randomised controlled trials) and quasi-experimental methods that can be used when an experiment is neither desirable nor feasible.
  • Political Economy (in English): This course provides an introduction to advanced theoretical and empiricist approaches in economic policy. The following topics will be addressed:
    • Introduction to modern economic policy
    • Election and voting models, voter rationality, voter bias, the media
    • Collective action, lobbying, political relations
    • Non-democratic politics
    • Corruption
    • Economic impacts of constitutions (and democratisation)
    • Institutions and growth
    • Regulation
    • Redistribution
    • Civil disputes and economic performance
    • Cultural economics
  • Econometric methods (in English): This course presents an econometric toolbox in applied contexts. The main topics covered are multiple regression, model diagnostics, hypothesis testing, variable selection, choice models. The programming language R will be used during the course.
  • Global economic governance and international taxation (in English): The aim of this course is to give students a good understanding of how to manage international negotiations and multilateral projects, using the example of international tax policy. It will be based on an approach blending theory and practice. The main issues addressed in the course are as follows:
    • Current dynamics in international relations and economic governance;
    • Key issues in tax policy and their importance for governments;
    • How to manage a multi-stakeholder project, build a strategy and communicate;
    • How to handle a multilateral negotiation and the drafting of official documents;
    • Developments of the major international tax negotiations.

These courses are taught by academics and by French and international practitioners, all of whom are experts in the field.

> Find out more about Master’s courses in Economics.

Career opportunities after a Master’s degree in Economics

Graduates of the Economics and Public Policy stream go on to careers in highly varied fields relating to the design, the implementation and the evaluation of economic policy. They work in public institutions, French, European or international governmental or non-governmental organisations, development agencies,European or international institutions.

Graduates of the stream are equally well equipped to enter the private sector, working, for example, for banking and financial organisations, accountancy and consulting firms, on the boards of large corporations, for insurance companies or public-private partnerships.

Examples of organisations and companies that recruit our graduates:

OECD, European Commission, ETUCE, DG Trésor, Direction Générale des Entreprises, Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations (CDC), Autorité des Marchés Financiers (AMF), Agence Française de Développement (AFD), the Bank of France, BNP Paribas, Crédit Agricole, KfW Development Bank, EIB, L'Oréal Group, GFA, Technopolis Group, Havas, LJCom, Wavestone, AXA, Engie, WWF, Fedesarrollo, etc.

Admissions to the Economics policy stream after a Bachelor’s degree

The economics and public finance track offered at Sciences Po’s School of Public Affairs is open to candidates currently studying for a Bachelor’s degree or equivalent, or who can provide evidence of a VAE (Validation des Acquis de l’Expérience) certification. Candidates are not required to have earned their Bachelor’s degree at Sciences Po, nor to have completed an undergraduate degree in economics or maths in order to apply for this Master’s programme.

However, we strongly recommend that those considering to apply to the Economics and Public Policy stream be familiar with the following notions: calculus, matrices, statistics, econometrics, microeconomics.

The School of Public Affairs welcomes candidates from very diverse geographic, academic and professional backgrounds. Our graduates become the new champions of the public good in Europe and internationally.

To find out more, download our brochure.

> Find out more about Master’s admissions at Sciences Po.

Public economics training in the heart of Paris, France

These studies take place in the heart of Paris (7th arrondissement), within the various buildings of Sciences Po’s School of Public Affairs.

The campus is located in the historic Saint-Germain-des-Prés neighbourhood, just in walking distance of numerous French parliamentary buildings and monuments. This ideal location gives students a unique opportunity to enjoy the French capital’s international and culturally enchanting atmosphere.

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