International Economic Policy
The course is student centred. It will explore a wide range of contemporary issues regarding policies and institutions. Students will be expected to address real life economic policy problems, drawing on theoretical analysis they have already been exposed to, empirical evidence and practical experience (e.g. as reported in the financial press). The primary focus of the course is on Europe, but coverage will extend to other OECD countries and on occasion, also emerging market economies.
After the introductory lectures, the course will consist of class presentations by the students (including power point slides, preferably also distributed in hard copy to participants), in which they first describe and then analyse a real world economic policy problem and present clear recommendations.
The students will learn the hands-on application of the analytical tools they have been exposed to on other courses on the Program to real-world economic issues facing policy makers, over a wide range of thematic policy blocks.
The lectures, class presentations and discussion, readings and preparation of a policy memorandum should enable students to understand what is required to contribute to real world economic policy making and discussion.
In a world of rapid internet searches, students will be expected to identify relevant factual and theoretical material on their own. This is one of the key skills they will be expected to develop on the course.
The course is intended to provide real insight into the practice of policymaking, thus helping to prepare them for a career in public service at home or in international or European bureaucracies, or for employment in the more regulated parts df the private sector, such as financial institutions. It also offers insights for identifying topics for master's or doctoral theses, or for the pursuit of further graduate studies or research in policy oriented areas and disciplines (not necessarily in economics).
Course Requirements (The requirements are designed to ensure maximum active student participation during the course).
- Assessment type 1 (20% of final grade): Class presentation. The student must choose a topic from the list below or agree a different topic with the Instructor (students are strongly encouraged to propose their own topics). The grade is determined by the clarity of the presentation, the ability to combine analysis and factual material, and the amount (and quality) of the discussion generated.
- Assessment type 2 (30% of final grade): Written policy memorandum. The memorandum is on the same subject as the class presentation. It should take into account the discussion during the presentation, and may require some additional reading and research. The memorandum should be addressed to an appropriate high-level official (government, agency, central bank,European Commission, etc.). The grade is determined not only by the analysis of the issue and supporting evidence, but also by the choice of issue. Judgement needs to be exercised by the student, not to choose a topic where the choice of recommendation is too straightforward or practically impossible. One way to deal with this problem, is to write the memorandum for an agency which will have a clear (if partial) mandate on the issue.
- Assessment type 3 (10% of final grade): Formal class participation. Students will be required to be Discussants on at least 2 Class Presentations by other students. They should take the role of representatives of government ministries or agencies, other national governments (in an EU context) or private sector industry groups, which are likely to have a different view of the issue. They will be expected to do some factual research to support their arguments and to identify analytical weaknesses in the Presentation.
- Assessment type 4 (maximum 10% bonus on final grade): for active participation when not a Discussant. You can still have 100% without this part.
- Assessment type 5 (40% of final grade): 3 hour examination. This will consist of writing 2 or 3 (number yet to be determined) memoranda on the topics that were presented in class by students and discussed. Topics will be arranged in at least three blocks, and students will be able to write on only one topic in each block. Students will also not be able to write on the topic they presented, and only on one topic for which they were Discussant.