Saturday, July 11, 2015

Overall -Economics of Public Policy and Management

With my well known good organizational skills and in the best of Italian traditions, I end up writing the blog that I was postponing for months on the plane which brings me back to Rome, after one year in the Netherlands. But this context, with the landscapes passing below the plane which brings me home, may suit particularly well to an overall reflection on the master that just concluded.

Overall, I really think that Utrecht and Utrecht University gave me  lot, and I should thank both for that. For sure –and to be a less more poetic and a bit more practical-, USE gave me far more than what I paid as a tuition fee. 1.900 euros for all I have received during this year, all the attention, the small courses, the events, initiatives, opportunities, infrastructures, contacts and services was indeed a very small price. Just to give a comparison: the Italian partner of USE in Italy is LUISS University in Rome, whose masters cost around 15.000 euros per year, if I remember well. Utrecht University has the same level of service, but a price more than 7 times lower. I took advantages of these services and of this price, so thank you to Utrecht University and thank you to the Dutch state for that.

But even if we study economics, we can talk about different things than money.
One of this is people. The people I met during my courses, the friends I spent my evenings with, the faltmates, the colleagues and friends from the internship, the professors, the friends from the library, the friends from parties, the old friends who came to visit me, the PhD students who inspires you and the supervisors who support you, and Laura who involved me in writing these blogs, which will be a nice souvenir of my year. All a crowd of people, professionals and friends, who  populated these months in the country of low landsacpes, making my master a rich, intense, multifaced and collective human experience. So I thank them all, thank you my new friends that I hope to maintain across the years, thank you professors who guided my first steps in the magic realm of public economics.

Besides people, there are objects. Like the bikes: one of the absolute protagonists of the life in the Netherlands, loyal support of students in work and fun. And I would say that this year has litterally passed at the joyfull rythm of cycling, which brings you from Utrecht Overvecht, to Neude, to the Campus, and back. And one of my best souvenirs of the year are indeed the evening in which with our group of friends, in a storm of bicycles, joyfull after a few beers (but remember that it is forbidden to bike then), we moved in the Dutch nights from someone’s place to a bar, or to another bar, sometimes even singing. Another object is my student number and password, that I typed again and again every day, up to the point that I think it will graved in my memory untill the end, so that when I will look my grand children paying I will istinctively murmour among myself “4249968…”. And the light Dutch beers at 2,5 euros per small glass. And Albert  Hein with their blu signs and terrifying absolute-monopole prices. The library in Drift, and Jankerskof, and the brootje Carlo. And the laptop, which accompanies you during all the long nights working on papers. And the rain, that swift constant companion of us all in the Netherlands, always present with its wet caresses remembering you that the you are still doing your master and that Rome is far.

Was it usefull this master as to my formation in Public Economics?
Indeed. I can’t know if it missed teaching me something that I should know, but I know that almost all I know is what it did taught. My only suggestion, as to my specific master programme, is to  add maybe a course in finance, since I think that economists working for the government should have a sufficient knowledge of the finance sector, if anything to be able to regulate it.

Would I suggest my master programme to a student fresh from his/her bachelor and maybe coming from abroad? If you don’t desperately need the sun as a source of joy and life, and if you feel ready to live among people whose average height is not far from 190 cm, yes. And of course, if you are interested in Empirical Economics, since it remains one of the main focus of USE as to my impression, and I think this is reasonable and fair.  Overall, I think you should really give Utrecht a try.