MSc in Economics and Business - Specialisation in Policy Economics

Erasmus School of Economics - Erasmus University Rotterdam

Program Description

MSc in Economics and Business - Specialisation in Policy Economics

Erasmus School of Economics - Erasmus University Rotterdam

MSc in Economics and Business - Specialisation in Policy Economics

Solving policy questions with advanced economic analysis and empirical research

Economic policy problems are everywhere. Think of the financial crisis in 2008 and the Euro crisis that erupted in 2010. Think also of population ageing which causes large increases in spending on healthcare and pensions. Global warming may threaten future life on earth. And income inequality is increasing almost everywhere in the Western world due to globalisation and technological changes. In order to be able to solve economic problems g, governments need excellent policy economists. By completing this Master programme you are able to apply state-of-the-art economic theory and research methods to solve the most important policy issues of our time.

Besides courses, the core of the Master programme consists of seminars. In the main seminar, you will try to solve one of the most pressing policy problems of our time. Moreover, our partners provide internships for the best students of the programme, for example, at one of the Ministries, CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis, competition and other government authorities. During this internship, you will most likely write your Master’s thesis.

Open minded, inquisitive, thorough? Rotterdam!

Main values of the Policy Economics programme at Erasmus School of Economics are: open-minded, curious, academically thorough, hard-working and politically engaged. If you are a strongly analytical student, if you are highly motivated, and if you are socially engaged, then you should enrol in the Master in Policy Economics!


Good policy economists are scarce and your career perspectives will be excellent. When graduating from this Master you are able to work as an applied policy economist at ministries, applied research institutes, bureaus for policy analysis, and international institutions. The places where our Policy Economics specialisation alumni work is the Dutch Ministries, CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Research, the Dutch Central Bank, the OECD and universities.

"This programme is a great way to use economic analysis to assess current and important economic policy decisions"


The curriculum of the Master in Policy Economics provides students with basic economic theory and empirical tools that are essential to becoming an outstanding policy economist. Core courses of this Master are Advanced Public Economics and Applied Econometrics. Furthermore, students can choose from three elective courses in the master Policy Economics e.g., Advanced Macroeconomics, Policy Issues in Public Spending on Labour, Education and Health and Economics of Organisations.

The Master also provides two large seminars. In the first seminar, students become familiar with a wide array of applied research techniques (e.g., qualitative research, econometrics of policy evaluation, cost-benefit analysis and field experiments) while discussing recent cases in policy evaluation. The second seminar is devoted to analysing one or two highly relevant policy issues. This seminar changes every year to anticipate on policy issues that are most pressing at that time. The last part is devoted to writing the Master’s thesis.


  • Seminar Cases in Policy Evaluation
  • Seminar Economic Policy
  • Applied Econometrics
  • Economics of Organisations
  • Seminar Quantitative Macroeconomics
  • Applied Econometrics
  • Advanced Public Economics
  • Advanced Macroeconomics
  • Industrial Organisation
  • Advanced Money Credit and Banking
  • The Practice of Economic Policy Making
  • Financial Development
  • Policy issues in Education, Health and Labor
  • Advanced Behavioral Economics


Ilja Surkovs

'Policy Economics is a specialisation for open-minded critical thinkers who want to perform sound economic analysis and give sound economic advice based on facts'

Why I chose Policy Economics?

After my Bachelor studies and some working experience in finance, I have understood that I am much more interested in broader economics, that I want to do bigger things and that I want to contribute to the society. I have chosen Erasmus School of Economics because price/quality ratio is one of the best in Europe. Further, I chose Policy Economics because it gives a solid knowledge that could be applied.

Valuable contacts

I found seminars in Policy Evaluation and Policy Economics very interesting and value-adding. The first seminar taught us to critically analyse economic policies. The second seminar focused on the Euro Crisis. We got a solid understanding of the current challenges in Europe and what could be done to address them. Thus, after this programme one is able to analyse economic policies both at a micro level using technical tools and at a macro by having a broad conceptual understanding.

Another strong aspect of the programme is that you can make very valuable contacts, which can really help you with your future career. Currently, I am finalising my Master's thesis and waiting for the start of a traineeship in the field of Policy Economics.

Jonathan Frisch

‘I strongly recommend the specialisation in Policy Economics. It strengthens your foundation in economics and provides you with excellent skills to analyse economic policy issues’

A programme tailored to your preferences

Throughout my Bachelor studies, got a broad overview of economics. Only in my final year I, specialised in policy economics, by choosing it as my major. This was also the time I discovered my passion for economic policy.

After completing my Bachelor degree, I knew that I also wanted to do a specialisation in Policy Economics. One of the great aspects of this programme is that it covers a broad range of policies while offering diverse electives which allows you to create a programme tailored to your preferences.

Excellent career prospects

The most interesting part of the specialisation starts with the seminars, as you turn your theoretical knowledge into practice. I especially liked the seminar in Economic Policy, in which we critically reflected on the euro crisis and the policy responses that followed. The seminar is extremely interactive, which also holds for the specialisation in general. Moreover, it offers guest lectures by some of the most prominent policy-makers.

Overall, I strongly recommend the specialisation in Policy Economics. It gives you excellent career prospects and offers you the unique possibility to combine your thesis with an internship at one of the many partner institutes.

Falk Laser - alumnus

'Policy Economics is a great programme helping you to disentangle the complexity of big policy questions and develop sound economic analyses to real-world problems'

Why I chose Policy Economics?

After a very theoretical training in economics in my bachelor, I wanted to learn how to apply economic theory to real-world problems. This programme was a perfect choice. It advances knowledge in policy related theory and provides the space to get acquainted with the vast bulk of relevant literature. In fact, it demands of the students to take matters into their own hands and present and discuss in written and oral form self-designed solutions to pressing policy questions.

One of the most memorable sentences from the programme was that as young economists, we live in very particular times. This is because with the global financial crisis and its aftermath unfolding we have the learning opportunity to dig deeper and understand. This is somewhat representative of the learning atmosphere in this programme: big questions are tackled and rigour in economic analysis is coupled with a good dose of curiosity and the freedom to discuss alternative approaches. Thanks to the dedicated and demanding teaching staff, I could develop academically and personally. Last but not least, it was also the co-students with some of which I am still in close contact, which made these 12 months a really long-lasting experience.

My career so far

During my studies at Erasmus School of Economics, I did an internship at the Autoriteit Consument & Markt (ACM) in The Hague and could apply what I learned about economic policymaking in the programme. The experience gained at the ACM certainly helped me in my next job. I did a traineeship at the European Commission and worked in the cabinet of Commissioner for Competition Magrethe Vestager. In Brussels, I extensively drew on the skills, I learned in Rotterdam. These enabled me to swiftly analyse complex material, identify the relevant economic and political challenges involved and design economic policy proposals.

After an internship in an academic environment at the Max-Planck-Institute in Bonn where I conducted research on financial regulation, I decided to go back to university and start a PhD. I am currently involved in a joint programme of Goethe-University Frankfurt and Technische Universität Darmstadt and I hold a research and teaching assistant position at the chair for International Economics in Darmstadt. Besides teaching responsibilities, I am working on my own research on topics in international macroeconomics, monetary economics and financial economics.

Matthijs Oosterveen - alumnus

'This master equips you with the set of tools to tackle the most urgent economic policy questions that society faces today'

A set of tools to tackle the most urgent economic policy questions that society faces today

Steven Levitt writes “Since the science of economics is primarily a set of tools, as opposed to a subject matter, then no subject, however offbeat, need be beyond its reach”. This master specialisation equips you with exactly these set of tools to tackle the most urgent economic policy questions that society faces today: from rising health care cost to the ongoing slow growth of the Eurozone.

This specialisation is different from any other master due to its two outstanding seminars. In the first seminar, you tackle to the core-question of almost every econometric analysis in economics: does x have a causal effect upon y? For example, does a rise in the minimum wage truly causes an employer to cut employment, or does reduce class size increase student performance? In the second seminar, you use the tools to find the answer to an urgent economic policy problem. In my academic year, we discussed the Eurozone crisis. By discussing papers, analysing (theoretical) mechanisms and related empirical work, I delved into the problem of competitiveness.

My career so far

The programme had a major positive impact on my career. After completing an internship at the Ministry of Education, which involved writing my master thesis, I concluded I wanted to continue in academia. I am currently a PhD-candidate at Erasmus School of Economics. In my research, I, address the policy questions and use the economic tools I discovered during the master program.

During my internship at the Ministry of Education, I noticed the policy arena is in need for economic advisers that can deliver well-founded policy analyses. Being able to give the economic and scientific arguments for why and how the government should intervene is an invaluable quality for a policymaker.

Cost & Fees

  • € 2.060 EEA/EU students*
  • € 14.700 NON-EEA/EU students**

*This is the statutory tuition fee for Dutch students, students from another country within the European Economic Area (EEA), the European Union (EU), Switzerland and Suriname who meet the statutory conditions.

**This is the institutional tuition fee for students for whom the statutory tuition fee does not apply. You have to pay the institutional fee if you:

  • don’t have an EU-, EEA, Swiss or Surinamese nationality
  • have finished a Dutch programme and want to follow another programme on the same level
This school offers programs in:
  • English

Last updated November 19, 2018
Duration & Price
This course is Campus based
Start Date
Start date
Sept. 2019
1 year
Full time
2,060 EUR
EEA/EU students; €14.700 NON-EEA/EU students.
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1 August for ESE students
Netherlands - Rotterdam, South Holland
Start date : Sept. 2019
Application deadline Request Info
1 August for ESE students
End date Request Info
Sept. 2019
Netherlands - Rotterdam, South Holland
Application deadline Request Info
1 August for ESE students
End date Request Info