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The IEB: Presentation


Who are we? 

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 the debate and decision-making process in economic policy.
Founded in 2001 within the University of Barcelona, 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, with the active support of Abertis, Applus, Gas Natural Fenosa, La Caixa, and the Barcelona City Hall and Provincial Council. In 2014 the University of Barcelona has joined the Foundation. The Institute hosts the UB’s Chair in Fiscal Federalism (in cooperation with the Institute for Fiscal Studies), the Chair of Energy Sustainability at the UB (funded by the Foundation for Energy and Environmental Sustainability) and the Chair of Smart Cities  at the UB (funded by the University of Barcelona) .
During the period 2007-2013 IEB membership has almost doubled: today the Institute is home to more than 60 researchers and PhD students. The members’ research is conducted primarily in the fields of fiscal federalism and public economics, urban economics and innovation, transport economics and infrastructure, tax system analysis and energy sustainability.
This research is published in specialist academic journals of international renown. The number of scientific papers published during the period 2007-2013 has increased almost six fold, with much of the work appearing in high impact journals. The IEB’s research is also presented at conferences, seminars and workshops, and is often undertaken as part of competitive national and international projects.
In order to promote and disseminate the research, the IEB publishes its own working papers, and periodically releases the IEB Report and the IEB’s Report on Fiscal Federalism and Public Finance, and other publications such as the Newsletter and the Info IEB. Likewise, the Institute organizes a significant number of events to disseminate its research findings (seminars, workshops and summer schools), as well as those of a more instructional nature (symposia, conferences and congresses).
Thanks to its research excellence and the cooperation stablished between the university, the public sector and the business world, the IEB has become a reference research center with international vocation.

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.