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Budapest School for Central Bank Studies

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The Budapest School for Central Bank Studies, established by the Magyar Nemzeti Bank (the central bank of Hungary) in 2008, offers intensive weekly courses in macroeconomics, monetary economics, international economics, banking and financial economics and quantitative and econometric methods specifically tailored to the needs of Central Banks.

Our courses are open to officials and also to PhD students.

The training needed by Central Banks. Central banks have an increasing demand for staff members who are well trained both in modern macroeconomics and quantitative methods. In-depth and up-to-date knowledge of advanced macroeconomic and quantitative tools is needed to produce the relevant background analysis, which is then used to assist monetary policy decisions. The staff of a typical central bank is heterogeneous in terms of type and level of knowledge. Furthermore, the human capital of mid-ranked officials is often not up-to-date, and, because of institutional constraints, young staff members, even with PhD, find it hard to adapt their knowledge to the needs of a central bank or to acquire new skills.

For this reason, Central Banks need a regular training. In particular, they need a structured set of courses, linked to each other, which smoothes out the heterogeneity in existing knowledge ensures a common ground for the type of analysis staff members need to provide, and help to develop the staffs' knowledge in the directions needed by Central Banks activities.

Such a training programme is currently not available. Typically, a Central Bank either invites experts in some relevant fields, who teach for a week or so to local staff, or sends some of its staff to attend short courses organized by universities or other private institutions. The former is an occasional activity usually lacking any follow ups. The latter gives access to courses set for general audiences and rarely tailored to the needs of central bankers.

The training concept of the Budapest School for Central Bank Studies. The School intends to fill this gap and offer a set of structured courses, specifically tailored for Central Banks's staff. The design will take into account, on one hand, the heterogeneous knowledge of Central Banks' staff and, on the other, that the material must be relevant in a Central Bank environment. This implies that the School will offer intermediate, advanced and topic courses designed for Central Bankers rather than generic academic training and that the material covered will include theories, applied methods, practical case studies, and empirical analyses which are highly relevant for the daily work of central bank professionals.

The programme director is Professor Fabio Canova (European University Institute), a world leading expert in the field of macroeconomics and quantitative methods, who has taught numerous courses in Central Banks and policy institutions around the world for almost two decades. Professor Canova also has an extensive experience in advising Central banks in their modeling and forecasting activities, currently acts as scientific advisor for the Euro Area Business Cycle Network (EABCN), and has recently published a textbook with Princeton University Press, which has already become a crucial reference for central bank professionals around the world. Therefore, he has a unique knowledge and insight of what central banks need in terms of staff development and training. Professor Canova will design both the courses the School will offer and selects the international specialists to teach them.

The structure of the courses of the Budapest School for Central Bank Studies will be the following:

  1. Intermediate level courses. These types of courses cover essential topics in macroeconomics, monetary economics, international economics and quantitative methods in order to bring knowledge of staff with diverse educational backgrounds at the same minimal level. These courses are directed to Central Bankers without Ph.Ds, to mid-career officials who want to refresh their general knowledge, and to non-economists who are interested in acquiring the language and the working tools needed to interact with economists.
  2. Advanced level courses. These types of courses cover topics in macroeconomics, monetary economics and quantitative methods that build on the intermediate level courses, and develop knowledge on a wide range of topics of interest to central bankers. This set of courses are directed to staff with old Ph.Ds, staff who want to fill gaps in their knowledge about important macroeconomic issues, mid-career officials who want to understand better what younger colleagues assume as given, and to anyone interested in refreshing or acquiring knowledge about recent development in academics.
  3. Frontier level courses. These types of courses focus on relatively narrow topics at a highly advanced level and build on the training at the previous two levels. They are intended for specialized audiences interested in topics ranging from model building, to model evaluation and forecasting, to technical issues about model solution or implementation of estimation techniques, to mathematical background needed for numerical and econometric tools, and to communication issues.

The School will offer two-week courses in English twice a year, in the Spring and in the Summer. The two weeks in Spring will be devoted to the intermediate level courses with a more or less fixed content; the two weeks in Summer will be devoted to advanced level courses and occasionally to frontier level courses. The number of participants attending each week will be limited to 30. It is possible to attend the courses on the weekly basis; however, preference will be given to applicants who wish to attend both weeks.

A 1,200 euro fee per week will be charged for the courses. A typical weekly session consists of five days with four hours of classes each day. Weekends are off. The fee includes course material, a social event per week. In the case of empirical or computational course the fee also includes the use of computer with Matlab and Dynare for the exercise session. Participants cover their own travel, accommodation and catering expenses.