Javier Capape offers us a first-hand insight into the economics part of the Bachelor in Politics, Law and Economics (PLE) at IE University.
I met with Javier Capape, who teaches Public Economics as part of the Bachelor in Politics, Law and Economics (PLE) at IE University. We met after class one evening to discuss the PLE program and, more specifically, his view and relationship towards the economic branch of this degree. Javier is a relatively young teacher at IE University. Nevertheless, he performs his duty as a professor to the highest possible regard and he is always a pleasure to speak with, inside or outside of class:
Tell me about yourself.
Well, I have a PHD in Sovereign Wealth Funds. I am a young professor at the IE School of Global and Public Affairs and the IE Law School here at IE University. I also used to teach a unique seminar on Sovereign Wealth Funds. This has been the focus for my research topic for the past 12 years; in particular, I have been looking into geopolitics and investment strategies. Just to add: Sovereign Wealth Funds are government-owned investment funds that are not only invested domestically, but also further abroad. They have important relationship implications with target countries. Furthermore, the government treats these investments differently than others as they are owned by public institutions.
Tell us your thoughts on IE University.
First of all, the IE University campus in Madrid and Segovia is fantastic. The campus in Segovia – where I sometimes teach – is located within an amazing environment; it is incredibly unique to be able to teach in a monastery from the 13th century! Secondly, it is a highly international university. There are many different students from all over the world who all offer different perspectives. I think this inspiring diversity helps make the learning environment extremely interesting for a range of subjects, such as economics. The solutions students have to come up with can be very different, depending on the country they come from.
What do you think of the Bachelor in Politics, Law and Economics (PLE)?
Despite it being a fairly new program, it does an excellent job of preparing students for the real world. Students will learn all about the implications seen in the legal sector and how they interact with economics. They will then be taught the effects these have on politics, or on society in general. It covers the three elements required to be a policymaker, an investment banker, a lawyer, or a consultant for the world bank (plus many other fields). In addition, students will soon learn the importance of tracking interactions and implications of policies.
Economics is very much a conversation topic among many politicians and lawyers, and it can raise an interesting debate. In the development sector, for example, knowledge of economics will help you to understand the different policies you can use. We study a lot about the possible changes that can take place in a market when you implement new agents, in this case, policy, and how they affect the economy. Then, we try to understand the changes of behavior of society, of the firms, and the different economic sectors. In economics we can identify and measure changes, and by looking at these we are then able to measure the effect of these policies. This will allow students to predict if the regulation in place adds more benefits or losses to the economy. This branch of PLE equips students with the tools and mindset needed to make sense of our chaotic world.
Be prepared to do a lot of analytical work. This is one of the key tools in economics and it is crucial to be able to make decisions in public institutions. You will learn how to use these tools in class. Furthermore, debates can really be driven and come to life by applying the theory you’re learning today. This means you will be able to hold elaborate discussions and have the chance to discuss your answers to some of the challenges we see in the world today. With the analytical tools you will learn to use, you will be able to make a more educated response to the challenges as they appear.