International Economics

Policy-relevant economic research and training for a better world.

The Department of International Economics is a community of scholars who are diverse in views and specializations but united in their commitment that economics should be ‘in the service of society’ and aimed at improving the world via rigorous, policy-relevant research and training.

Our mission involves developing state of the art research on policy-relevant issues, responding to emerging global challenges. It involves a commitment to engage with the policy community, by stimulating meaningful debates in a spirit of multi-disciplinarity and contributing to policy initiatives.

Our mission also involves preparing students by equipping them with the advanced empirical and analytical tools that are required for careers in international economics, but also providing them with the necessary competences (e.g. in communication, problem solving, team work), and the necessary institutional and historical background they will need to apply the tools to real world problems.

Our distinctive identity is reflected in the profile of the faculty, the curriculum of our program, the placement and career development of our students, our research output and dissemination and concrete engagement with policymakers

The professors, who are well known in their respective areas of specialization, all have first-hand experience in using international economics to address the world’s most pressing problems from their concrete involvement in policy initiatives and enforcement. This experience provides continuous feedback in shaping our teaching while simultaneously creating professional networks that facilitate placement of our students. In preparing students for policy-relevant jobs, the Institute’s multi-disciplinarity and bilingualism provide a unique advantage over traditional economic departments. Located physically in the center of Geneva’s numerous international organizations, the Graduate Institute is a global hub for policy-relevant research in international relations in general and international economics in particular.

Our strengths lie in macroeconomics and finance, development economics, sustainable finance and trade, and environmental economics. The Department offers a master programme in International Economics with specializations in International Finance, Development Economics, International Trade and Sustainable Finance. We also offer a one-year MAS in sustainable finance and development, and two PhD programmes: one in International Economics, the other in Development Economics.



Rare Voices in Economics, a Women in Economics initiative by our PhD Students



Unique Programmes

  • The Department of International Economics offers a unique set of programmes in economics. The admissions process is highly selective and is based on a detailed application package, which includes the GRE. 
  • Each year, we admit roughly 20 candidates to our Master in International Economics.
  • Strong candidates with two-year master's degrees in economics should consider applying directly to the PhD in International Economics or the PhD in Development Economics. On average the two PhD programmes admit a combined total of 12 students each year.

Rigorous, Policy-relevant Training

  • The Department looks for applicants of exceptional academic merit, but also seeks individuals who are enthusiastic about economics and want to use their training to make the world a better place.
  • Besides compulsory courses in micro, macro and econometrics, students can choose amongst a wide range of electives in economics and other disciplines.
  • Our students are known for their rigorous training and are highly sought-after by employers in international organisations, the private sector, policy institutions and academia.  
  • Placement of our PhDs is remarkable for a department of our size.

Internationally-known Faculty in a Small Department 

  • Our professors are internationally-known researchers who are not afraid of actively participating in current policy debates, writing OpEd pieces or advising national governments and international organisations.
  • In the latest Repec rankings, we placed third in Switzerland (out of a total of 119 registered institutions), just behind Zurich and the Bank for International Settlements.  And remember that the Department only counts 12 full-time professors.
  • On average, our entering classes are drawn from 20 different nationalities. Classes are small and interaction between students and faculty is easy.

A Cosmopolitan Environment

  • Geneva is home to dozens of international organisations, NGOs and a dynamic financial sector, providing an attractive variety of internships and employment opportunities. Our Career Services provide information on such placements. Economists from institutions such as the WTO often teach in the Department.
  • Students can take classes at the Universities of Geneva and Lausanne. PhD students can participate in high-level courses given by renowned economists at the Swiss National Bank's Gerzensee Study Center. Admission to this programme is competitive.

 Teaching staff for economics at the Graduate Institute

The professors are known worldwide in their respective areas and offer first-hand experience in using international economics to address the world’s many problems. Teaching is by professors (not graduate students) using hands-on, problem-solving approaches. In addition to lifelong academics, the faculty includes practitioners such as the Chief Economist of the World Trade Organisation, and faculty members which have spent part of their career working in policy institutions such as the World Bank, the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund, the European Commission, and the US Federal Reserve. In addition to the core economics courses , the department offers an applied course taught by department’s alumni holding senior positions in international organizations. This course provides our students a unique opportunity to better understand how economics is used in policymaking and to get to know personally senior staff at organizations such as the IMF, the World Bank and the OECD.


IE Faculty Photo

A gender balanced faculty
from left to right: Profs. Ugo Panizza, Martina Viarengo, Nathan Sussman, Rui Esteves, Cédric Tille, Damien Neven, Lore Vandewalle, Yuan Zi, Imelda, Beatrice Weder Di Mauro

A supportive, collaborative learning environment
The high professor-student ratio, the small class sizes, and the highly diverse student body create a collegial, stimulating, and friendly atmosphere. As Julieta Contreras, a Master student from Mexico who graduated in 2020 put it: “there is an environment of collaboration where you can develop skills together with your classmates. There is solidarity and friendship .” 

A critical part of the training stems from constant interactions with bright, open and diverse minds from all over the world. Interdisciplinarity is a core principle of the Graduate Institute so you will be networking with students of international law, international history, international relations, social anthropology, and international development. 

Located physically at the centre of Geneva’s numerous international organisations, the Graduate Institute is a global hub for policy-relevant research in international relations in general and international economics in particular. Talks, debates and events are held virtually every evening in the Graduate Institutes ultra-modern building (the ‘Maison de la Paix’). The Graduate Institute has also a close link with the London-based Centre for Economic Research (CEPR), the premier network of economists in Europe: the President of CEPR, one of its vice presidents and the editor in chief of VoxEU (CEPR’s policy portal) are all professors at the Graduate Institute and our students benefit from joint events organized by the CEPR and the Graduate Institute. 

Beyond academics, living in Geneva exposes our students to a diverse, cosmopolitan environment, where you cannot help but broaden your horizons while picking up some French. The Graduate Institute is bilingual (English and French), but all economics courses are taught in English. 

Department Seminar Series, Brown Bag Lunch, the Geneva Trade and Development Workshop.


We organise seminars, lectures and academic conferences where eminent academics and policymakers present their research. We also regularly hold events tailored towards getting our PhD students ready for the job market.

Guidelines for an inclusive Economics Department

These guidelines are the results of the collaboration between the Women in Economics Léman IHEID working group and the faculty steering committee of the Department of Economics.
Research & Publication

Working Papers

Access to all Working Papers of our Faculty Members.

Upcoming events

Contact us


Ugo Panizza


Prof. Ugo Panizza| Head of Department
Office: P1-664

The Head of Department sets the strategic direction of the curricula and is responsible for coordinating the overall academic content.


Zoya Anastassova


Zoya Anastassova | Department Manager
Phone: +41 22 908 59 59

The Departmental Manager supports the efforts of the Head of Department in the successful coordination of the department.

Mailing Address

International Economics
Maison de la paix
Chemin Eugène-Rigot 2A
Case Postale 1672
CH-1211 Genève 1


Access: The Maison de la paix is located at Chemin Eugène-Rigot 2A, on the corner of Avenue de France. You may take tram 15 until the Maison de la paix stop or, alternatively, walk a few minutes from the stop at Place des Nations.