Pablo Beramendi. Duke University.

Pablo Beramendi

Duke University

There is a large need for a rigorous graduate program in political economy, able to prepare graduates to either pursue a career in public policy and/or applied development, areas in which the need for rigorous evaluation designs is only increasing, or to pursue a doctoral degree in either positive political science, economics or economic history.

The space in common across the three disciplines is large, and the synergies between them when it comes to institutional analysis a largely unexploited terrain in both teaching and research. The current proposal presents a well balanced curriculum to fill this gap, and would place the UB in rare company within the European Union and, indeed, advanced research programs in North America.

Branko Milanovic. Cuny, LSE.

Branko Milanovic


I find the program extremely interesting, well though-out and timely. It reflects a movement in the social sciences towards more multidisciplinarity. The combination of political science, political economy and economy history is indeed one of such new combinations that, I believe, would be valued by students. The advantage is that it does not sacrifice rigor but adds flexibility. Both are, I think, attractive to students because they allow them later to do a PhD either in a similar program or to specialize into one of the three, with very good perception of what they can expect and very thorough preparation for it.

The topics treated and methodologies uses by political science, political economy, and economic history have become very similar, so much that is difficult to draw borders. That similarity has encouraged work between academics from the three disciplines. It totally makes sense to extend that cooperation to future students. The presence of top academics from three fields teaching at UB, and the sole use of English, adds further attraction to the program.

Johanna Rickne. Stockholm University.

Johanna Rickne

Stockholm University

As a Professor of Economics at Stockholm University, my research has a cross-disciplinary approach and I have taught classes and supervised students in both economics and political science. I believe that a cross-disciplinary education program between these fields is valuable in general, but particularly so in today’s world. Across democracies, we see the parallel phenomenon of political polarization and authoritarian backsliding. At the same time, the world needs to address pressing problems like climate change, international health hazards, and the depletion of national resources that is likely to underpin global conflicts. In this world, understanding the interplay between political and economic systems becomes crucial. The component of economic history is also highly valuable, as it lets students trace out tomorrow’s solutions from yesterday’s failures or successes. I believe that this Master’s program will be an excellent vehicle to equip students with the most modern theoretical and empirical tools to productively participate in our changing society.

Anja Neundorf. University of Glasgow.

Anja Neundorf

University of Glasgow

The proposal is led by an impressive research team from three disciplines: political science, economics and economic history. The team already has a well-functioning working relationship through a shared research centre. This collaboration is unique and will be a strong base for this new, interdisciplinary programme.

The interdisciplinarity of the programme is a clear advantage and highly attractive for students. This credible interdisciplinary focus of the programme is a unique selling point of this MA and will without doubt attract many talented students. This programme will be a unique stepping-stone for its graduates for both PhD studies or work outside academia (e.g. civil service, politics, consultancy, private sector).

Jonathan Rodden. Stanford University.

Jonathan Rodden

Stanford University

Between the departments of economics, political science, and economic history, the University of Barcelona has established itself as a center of excellence in Europe for the study of political economy, with special focus on the role of institutions. The University of Barcelona has developed a unique and very fortunate area of focused synergy between these three departments. I have known Carles Boix and Albert Solé-Ollé for most of the last two decades, and have come to respect them as the leaders in their respective fields within continental Europe. The University is quite fortunate to have them at the same institution, along with an excellent group of researchers in economic history. I should add that from top to bottom, each of these departments is stacked with scholars who are internationally recognized, and the quality of the faculties has only increased with recent junior hires.

Political economy is an interdisciplinary undertaking, and I have become convinced that the best work happens when the investments of economists and political scientists in their respective fields can be shared. Inter-disciplinary collaboration is difficult to achieve, even when people enjoy learning from one another and have strong incentives to collaborate. The organization of universities encourages retreat into disciplinary silos. This program would create an institutional locus for collaboration, and if it is successful, generations of students and researchers will benefit. I anticipate that students graduating from this program will be competitive in the job market, and will be attractive candidates for PhD programs like those in political science, economics, and political economy at Stanford and other leading universities.

Elias Dinas. European University Institute.

Elias Dinas

European University Institute

The Master in Institutions and Political Economy combines the state of the art in terms of social science research methodology (causal inference, combined with a rigorous data-science profile) together with a rigorous and, I am sure, demanding take on formal thinking and theory building. Through these two methodological pillars, participants are then introduced to state-of-the-art material in substantive fields of comparative politics and political economy.

The idea to embrace a more historical approach to empirical research is going to make a huge difference in the type, style and eventually quality of research that participants will be executing throughout and after their studies. This is important because my experience as someone who works in a department that receives every year more than 300 PhD applications tells me that methods on their own are not sufficient to bring in innovative research ideas. What is essential is that participants are socialized into what I call good-taste research. History is fundamental in this exact task, helping students to think out of the box and come up with challenging research questions and research projects in general. This historical focus is bound to make the Master in Institutions and Political Economy distinguish itself among other also excellent Masters in Europe.

All in all, this is an extremely ambitious and promising Master’s which I am sure will become a leading source of brilliant PhD candidates in the most prestigious universities around the globe.

David Rueda. University of Oxford.

David Rueda

University of Oxford

There is a real need for an interdisciplinary research program aimed at the study of the role of political institutions and their relationship with the processes of economic change and development, particularly one that takes a long-term historical perspective. There is an untapped demand for this kind of degree that the University of Barcelona would take advantage of.

There are few places with the combination of talent required for this kind of program to succeed. And the Departments of Economics, Political Science and Economic History of the University of Barcelona make up an intellectual core that is uniquely placed to provide this degree. As the proposal makes clear, the three outstanding research groups at University of Barcelona in Comparative Politics (led by Carles Boix), Political Economy (led by Albert Solé-Ollé) and Economic History (led by Alfonso Herranz-Loncán) have the international recognition necessary for the program to be a great success.

Marta Curto. Director of Economic Analysis of the Government of Catalunya.

Marta Curto

Director of Economic Analysis of the Government of Catalunya

There is a growing awareness and consensus that institutions are closely linked to economic growth and development. The Master in Institutions and Political Economy aims at the study of such linkages, which is key to sound policymaking. The interdisciplinary nature of the program is one of the program´s main strengths. Interdisciplinary research is a driver of social progress as it stimulates creativity and innovation. People working in isolated disciplines are less likely to solve grand challenges such as poverty and inequality. Interactions between political science, economics, and economic history are becoming more common (especially in top universities) but, unfortunately, there are still too few people that truly engage in multidisciplinary work. One of the reasons is the scarcity of training programs with this nature. The Master in Institutions and Political Economy would contribute to close this gap.

Philip Hoffman. California Institute of Technology.

Philip Hoffman

California Institute of Technology

The proposal for a Master’s program in Institutions and Political Economy at the University of Barcelona seems excellent to me. The university’s departments of Economics, Political Science and Economic History are known to be strong, and they already have outstanding research groups in comparative politics, political economy, and economic history. All three of these research groups are working in an area where methods and questions overlap, and much of the best work in that area concerns political economy and institutions. Building on that strength and those shared research interests makes eminent sense. Such a program would be a good steppingstone to PhD work in economics and political science, particularly since it will ensure that students have the necessary quantitative skills and the necessary drive to do research work. Demand for master’s programs of this sort seems strong, because graduates can also move on to other employment besides continuing in a PhD program. The required courses are excellent—particularly the game theory, political economy, and effective use of economic history.

Laia Balcells. Georgetown University.

Laia Balcells

Georgetown University

In a world where artificial boundaries between social science fields are becoming obsolete, initiatives like this one, which aim to bring top scholars from different disciplines together is to be praised. The Master in Institutions and Political Economy is innovative and different from everything else currently being offered in Spain, and I would argue it will be quite unique in Europe too. This program will prepare students to pursue PhD programs in the best institutions of the United States and Europe.

Paola Profeta. Bocconi University.

Paola Profeta

Bocconi University

Understanding economics and politics in a continuously evolving world and rapidly changing society is essential for both researchers and policy-makers. By combining a rigorous advanced knowledge in the quantitative disciplines with a multidisciplinary approach, the program will support students to develop critical thinking and analytical skills to successfully improve our understanding of the complex economic, social and political contexts and to design and evaluate effective solutions to real-world policy problems.

Didac Queralt. Yale University.

Didac Queralt

Yale University

There is much to praise in the interdisciplinary approach of program, both for its academic quality and market potential. Political Science, Political Economy, and Economic History are converging faster than ever—as reflected by the burgeoning of interdisciplinary workshops and publications. However, only a handful of institutions have seized the opportunity to offer a comprehensive, interdisciplinary training program to meet demand.

This program fills a vacuum in the Social Sciences in Spain and Southern Europe by putting together a vibrant academic curriculum commanded by a group of top-notch internationally recognized scholars. The Master in Institutions and Political Economy would place UB at par with first-tier research institutions in the world.