Who we are?
The Barcelona Institute of Economics (IEB) is a research centre whose goals are to promote and disseminate work in Applied Economics, and to contribute to debate and the decision-making process in Economic Policy.
Founded in 2001 within the University of Barcelona (UB), the IEB enjoys the official recognition of the Catalan Government. In 2008, the Institute received a major boost with the creation of the IEB Foundation, on whose board of trustees sit representatives of private business (Abertis, Applus, Naturgy Energy and La Caixa), public institutions (Barcelona City Hall) and the universities (University of Barcelona and the Autonomous University of Barcelona), in what is an excellent example of collaboration between the public/private sectors and academia. In carrying out its work, the IEB works closely with the Institute of Fiscal Studies, the Barcelona Provincial Council and Agbar. The IEB also hosts the Chair of Energy Sustainability at the UB (funded by the Foundation for Energy and Environmental Sustainability) and the UB’s Chair of Smart Cities.
The research work of the Institute’s members is conducted primarily in the fields of fiscal federalism and public economics; urban economics; transport economics and infrastructure; energy sustainability; tax system analysis; human capital and innovation.
As the IEB’s annual report shows, this research, carried out within the framework of competitive national and international projects, is presented at conferences, seminars and workshops, and is published primarily in specialist academic journals. In order to promote and disseminate this research further, the IEB publishes its own series of working papers and organises related activities, including seminars, workshops, and summer schools, among other events.
Similarly, with the aim of bringing its research findings to a wider audience, and of promoting debate and contributing to the policy-making process, the Institute periodically releases the IEB Report and the IEB’s Report on Fiscal Federalism and Public Finance, as well as its newsletter, Info IEB. The Institute also organizes a significant number of educational events, including conferences, meetings, symposia and discussion forums.
Finally, IEB researchers also participate in studies commissioned by entities and institutions interested in the economic analysis of the specific questions and issues in which they specialise.
Thanks to its research excellence and the cooperation established between the university, the public sector and the business world, the IEB is today a leading international research centre.
What do we do?
- The Research Programme in Fiscal Federalism promotes the study of the public finances in multilevel systems of government (national, regional, and local) and debate on local and regional funding. Its research covers topics such as the effects of the decentralization of public services, the allocation of certain taxes at subcentral level, and the effects of intergovernmental transfers. This programme includes the UB’s Chair in Fiscal Federalism.
- The Cities Research Programme promotes studies in regional and urban economy, with a focus on the role of cities as engines of prosperity. Analyses are undertaken of the determinants of city growth, agglomeration economies, the functioning of local labour markets and the design of public policies to give appropriate responses to the problems that cities face today. The programme includes the UB Chair in Smart Cities.
- The Research Programme in Infrastructure and Transport promotes research in this area from an economic viewpoint, in order to generate knowledge that is useful to society and is able to guide public policy. It focuses on the effects of infrastructure investments and transport policies on economic growth and the environment, examines the impact of policies of regional distribution, regulation and competition in the transport sector as well as user charges for infrastructure.
- The Research Programme in Tax Systems Analysis seeks to promote research in the field of taxation, analyzing the effects of taxes, how taxes might be best designed and implemented and how their correct administration impacts their outcomes. The programme places special emphasis on empirical research and the analysis of the Spanish tax system, so as to generate knowledge useful for society as a whole.
- The Human Capital Research Programme promotes studies related to education and the training of individuals as well as analyses of education systems and policies from an economic perspective. Among other subjects, the programme analyses education and training policies, university and non-university education systems, education and economic growth, the non-monetary effects of education and international assessments of the competencies of the young (PISA) and the adult population (PIAAC).
In addition, the Chair of Energy Sustainability at the UB promotes research into the production, supply, and use of the energy needed to maintain social welfare and development, placing special emphasis on economic, environmental, and social aspects.
IEB research covers also other topics in Economics, including innovation, public economics, the labour market, the welfare state and the financial system.
The Institute also conducts economic studies for institutions and participates in European projects, collaborating with other centers from different universities of the continent. The IEB has conducted studies for institutions such as the OECD, the European Commission, the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness and the Government of Catalonia.