Solving societal problems often requires a solid multidisciplinary preparation. The Economics and Governance specialisation, offered jointly by the Department of Economics and the Institute of Public Administration, combines insights from the two disciplines.
The Master of Public Administration prepares students for analysing and addressing societal problems in the overarching framework of public governance. In this specialisation we combine this framework with a strong foundation of economics as well as an applied approach to societal problems. Students develop skills to conduct economic analysis of current policy problems and to identify an appropriate policy response, recognising for example the difficulty of all different public and private stakeholders involved.
The focal point of the programme is on welfare states and markets. Students learn about the role of government in creating, facilitating and controlling markets (e.g. competition policy, regulation). We will also examine the status of the current welfare state, such as the pension system, social security, labour markets, and income distribution in society. We examine the challenges that the welfare state currently confronts and analyse policy responses to address the problems, both from an empirical and theoretical viewpoint. Furthermore, as increasingly recognised by scholars and policy-makers, the institutional framework (standards, procedures, and norms, also non-governmental actors) is an important precondition for well-functioning economies. Understanding markets within such institutional complexity as well as within the global context is an important characteristic of the program. This combination of Public administration and Economics focused on markets, governance and regulation is a unique approach.
The specialisation aims to develop professionals who are able to address policy problems broadly, and in the field of social policy and market regulation specifically; professionals who recognise the assumptions and choices they make in their decisions, and who can stand on strong theoretical and applied knowledge as well as academic and professional skills throughout their career.
“How can we address humankind’s most pressing problems from the perspective of governance?”
Although these and many other challenges differ in many ways, they all share a common underlying dimension, namely public governance: to address them in a meaningful way we need knowledge about political, administrative and societal actors and processes.
In the Master we concentrate on the management, steering, and coordination of political, administrative, economic, and social actors and the formal and informal regimes and policy processes within which they act towards addressing collective social problems at regional, national, and international levels.
In our Master we will teach you that societal challenges are multi-level governance problems. For example, the Ebola disease started as a local governance problem of a few countries but transformed itself rapidly into a global problem due to the disease’s spread by means of modern transportation. We will also teach you that such societal challenges require a multi-disciplinary perspective. It requires the knowledge of economic, political, organizational, management and legal studies to gain a better understanding of them.
And, finally, we also will show you that societal challenges are transboundary problems. That is, they involve both the public and the private sector.
This is what we aim for then: educating future academics with the state-of-the-art scientific knowledge and professional skills that are capable of addressing our most important challenges. We educate people who know that governments alone can no longer steer societies on their own but need partners to do the job. Thus, we educate knowledge entrepreneurs, capable of working within (semi) public as well as private organizations towards solving our pressing social and economic problems.