Economics and Public Policy: A Primer Program


Governments all around the world implement public policies that affect our lives. Economic policies specifically, have an impact on outcomes like growth, equity and social welfare. It is important therefore to be able to evaluate the claims and counter-claims that are often used in various policy debates.

What the program is about


We have developed an Economics and Policy Program where our instructors equip students to evaluate the economic arguments made about public policy choices. This will cover basic concepts relating to the role of the state versus the market, and the relative merits of different kinds of policy interventions, including on behalf of correcting market failure, the use of behavioural ‘nudges’, promoting industrial policy and tackling equity concerns.


While we explore various perspectives, the overarching theme of our program is on how entrepreneurial activity drives market processes. In addition to the classroom activity therefore, we will also feature the work of local Singaporean entrepreneurs and companies for students to witness entrepreneurial activity up-close.


The learning outcomes


  • Critically evaluate competing policy proposals, show understanding of the ethical and empirical justifications used
  • Understand how philosophy, politics and economics are inter-connected and impact public policy
  • Appreciating the relative merits of both states and markets in collective action
  • Be proficient in articulating or writing policy-based content drawing from concepts of state-market relations, government vs market failure, efficiency vs equity.
  • Appreciate the importance of entrepreneurial activity in the market economy


Why us?


  • Our global network. The Adam Smith Center is part of a global network of thought leaders, including think tank professionals, academics and trainers in Asia and the Western world. We have access to their varied expertise and can customise a program that may require more specialised knowledge in a particular sub-field, or region, e.g. the China economy and implications on public policy
  • Our interdisciplinary focus. Public policy has to be understood from an interdisciplinary lens, and cannot simply be based on mathematical models and statistical work, as important as those are. Ethical considerations and even historical factors shape current policymaking. Comparative cultural understandings also matter for analysing policy across national domains. Our program blends expertise from the inter-related fields of PPE (philosophy, politics and economics), and social sciences to give you a holistic picture.

How to apply

We run these seminars on a quarterly basis, and each run of the program may differ on the specific instructors and curriculum. To enquire about and participate in the upcoming runs, visit our forms here. Only pre-university and university students are eligible to participate.


Alternatively, we are ready to also co-create with you tailored program for schools, external agencies and companies. Those keen on this can reach out to us at