About us

The Institute

The Public Policy Institute of the Faculty of Economics and Business at Universidad Diego Portales (UDP) is an institution that focuses on both research and teaching. Our purpose is to actively take part in policy negotiations and be an important actor in Chile's public policy debates. We do so by generating public policy proposals aimed at tackling the most important policies the country faces today. Through our Master of Public Policy program, the Institute is also committed to train the next generation of high-level policy makers in Chile.


The Public Policy Institute was born at a turning point in the history of Chile. For the first time Chile has the real possibility of reaching, within the next few years, the status of a developed nation. However this will require increasingly complex public policies. This new policies need to be based on solid empirical evidence, need to have an interdisciplinary character and include cross cutting perspectives in order to recognize the relevance that different participants have in their design and execution.

As a member of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), Chile's policy makers, legislators and researchers enjoy now access to successful international examples of public policy. This is a great opportunity to enrich the country's public policy process –but to profit from it will require adapting policies and institutions to the complexities of our domestic reality. Today, Chile needs decision makers that understand the technical complexities of public policies and the political and social factors that determine legislative approval of reforms and their successful execution.

Thus, the mission of our Institute is to contribute to advancing the public policies Chile requires to reach the stage of a developed country and to train the next generation of policymakers that will design and implement those policies.


The Public Policy Institute has a team of six full-time faculty and more than 20 adjunct faculty, scholars, and practitioners who belong to a variety of social sciences fields, ranging from economics, public health, education, political science, public policy, international affairs to sociology, indigenous studies and media, among other disciplines. Our faculty has distinguished itself in research and leadership in Chile's policy world.

Our faculty regularly publishes in prestigious international journals and actively participates in analyzing, designing, implementing and advocating public policies in Chile. Our researchers are frequently invited to be members of presidential commissions, expert panels, and often take part in the public policy process by advising Congress and local and regional governments.

Full-time Faculty

Gregory Elacqua

Director, Public Policy Institute

Areas of interest: Educational policies, Urban policies and survey methodology

E-Mail: | Phone: 676 2805

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Esteban Calvo

Director, Masters of Public Policy

Areas of interest: Aging and life patterns, social epidemiology, public policies and quantitative methods.

E-Mail: | Phone: 676 2805

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Rubén Castro

Professor and Researcher

Areas of interest: Fertility, pensions and aging, demographic methods

E-Mail: | Phone: 676 2805

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Claudia Sanhueza

Professor and Researcher

Areas of interest: Applied econometrics, labor economics, economics of education, economics of the family

E-Mail: | Phone: 676 2805

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Andrés Zahler

Professor and Researcher

Areas of interest: International economics, economic development, growth, economics of innovation.

E-Mail: | Phone: 676 2805

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Adjunct Professors from the Faculty of Economics and Business

Enrique Calfucura

Areas of interest: Economics of natural resources; political Economy; industrial organization; ecotourism and indigenous communities

E-Mail: | Phone: 676 2860

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Alejandro Corvalán

Areas of interest: Political economy; economic development and applied econometrics.

E-Mail: | Phone: 676 2255

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Fernando Díaz

Areas of interest: Corporate governance; agency problems; market efficiency; competition and empirical industrial organization

E-Mail: | Phone: 676 2804

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Fernando Lefort

Dean, Faculty of Economics and Business

Areas of interest: Corporate governance; agency problems, financial markets.

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Rodrigo Montero

Areas of interest: Impact evaluation of programs; labor markets; and economics of happiness

E-Mail: | Phone: 676 2240

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Ernesto Ottone

Director, Globalization and Democracy Program

Areas of interest: Globalization; political systems; and development processes

E-Mail: | Phone: 676 2841

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Miguel Vargas

Areas of interest: Urban economics; segregation; and industrial organization

E-Mail: | Phone: 676 2252

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Adjunct Professors from Universidad Diego Portales

José Joaquín Brunner

Areas of interest: Education reform

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Louis De Grange

Director, School of Industrial Engineering, Universidad Diego Portales

Areas of interest: Transport.

E-Mail: | Phone: 676 2860

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Jorge Las Heras

Vice-Dean, Faculty of Medicine

Areas of interest: University management and policies; Health and social community development.

E-Mail: | Phone: 676 2901

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Patricio Navia

Areas of interest: Democratization; institutional design; and electoral laws in Chile and Latin America

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Carlos Peña

President, Universidad Diego Portales

Areas of interest:

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Ernesto Trevino

Director, Center for Comparative Educational Policies, Universidad Diego Portales

Areas of interest: Education, comparative policies

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Juan Enrique Vargas

Dean, Law School, Universidad Diego Portales

Areas of interest: Justice reform, legal education

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Research Areas

Public Policy in Education

By providing empirical evidence this research area aims to promote the interdisciplinary debate about education policies in Chile, and influence the decision-making process. This area is particularly interested in issues such as school accountability, the impact of school choice and the mechanisms of quality assurance implemented by the state.

Health Policies and Aging

This area aims to produce first class research on health and health-related welfare in the context of aging societies; to contribute to the development of public policies that promote the health and welfare of all Chileans, with a spcecial focus on the elderly; and to make the results and data of its research easily available to decision makers, journalists, academics and students.

Social and Labor Policies

This area analyses the distributive and social features of labor models in Chile and other countries, taking into account historical, causal and theoretical perspectives. Special attention is paid on topics such as poverty, intergenerational mobility, equal opportunities, polarization, segmentation, segregation, income inequality, among others. A key aspect of this area is the organization and funding of social protection systems and their impact on social policy.

Urban and Local Policies

This area studies the factors that determine opportunities and challenges in urban environments, such as economic clusters, transport systems, housing policies, residential segregation, environment, community health, education and crime prevention. The Institute is currently implementing a geo-referential multidisciplinary research with the support of mayors from the Santiago cosmopolitan area to identify and implement applied solutions to the some of the most important urban challenges.

Innovation Policies and Entrepreneurship

This field examines the dynamics that influence innovation in organizations; market failures associated with the innovation process, and the impact of public policy on growth and competitiveness in Chile. Through applied research, this area expects to contribute to better innovation policies and to improve their national impact and relevance.

Institutions and State Reform

Chile has been inmersed for several years in an intense debate about the need for a more efficient and transparent state, and the need for political institutions and processes that better represent citizens' preferences and needs. This research area contributes to that debate by analyzing the impact that different institutional arrangements, electoral systems, legislative processes, balances of power between the Executive and Congress, and the role of civil servants have on the political and institutional system as a whole. This area also identifies successful international examples and the feasibility of applying some features to Chile's political system.

Globalization and Democracy

The Globalization and Democracy Chair expects to make a significant contribution to the debate about how the globalization process impacts the democratic functioning of Latin American societies. Each year, four to five internationally renowned academics, intelectuals and thinkers take part in a conference to discuss the political, social and cultural aspects of globalization. For more information visit the Chair's website (in Spanish): Cátedra Globalización y Democracia.


Claves de Políticas Públicas Series

The "Claves de Políticas Públicas" is a series of policy papers written in a non-technical language that offers a clear, concise and informed analysis about current or potential public policies. The Claves' audience includes public and private sector policy makers, journalists, academics and students. Our Institute accepts and encourages the work of outside researchers and policymakers. For more information contact

Working Paper Series

This series publishes the recent work of researchers at the Public Policy Institute, the Faculty of Economics and Business and other academics at Universidad Diego Portales. The Working Papers are multidisciplinary in nature and focus on a wide array of public policies. The Institute cordially invites the academic community and experts from different backgrounds to participate in this series of studies. Interested should send articles to

Master in Public Policy

he Master in Public Policy trains future leaders in the design, formulation, and evaluation of public policies in Chile and Latin America. Through learning that combines rigorous training in analytic and quantitative skills, with a practical focus and the analysis of real cases, our graduates acquire the tools and preparation needed to fulfill the demanding task of designing and implementing public policies that will make a difference.

Our faculty has extensive experience in empirical research and public policy formulation and trains students to apply concepts and practices from various social sciences, ranging from economics, public finance, statistics, public health, to demography, education, and other areas.

Our aim is to transform our graduates into effective policy makers and knowledgeable public managers well prepared to develop public policies that will have a lasting impact on society.

Who studies our MPP?

Our program is designed for professionals with degrees in economics, engineering, law, political science, sociology, journalism, health, among other backgrounds. Prospective students will have previous work experience and are people who aspire to improve their knowledge and acquire the tools that will enable them to design and implement high-impact public policies.

Why choose our MPP?

  • Our program is the first Master in Public Policy in Chile that combines rigorous academic training in economics and statistics with a multidisciplinary perspective. Additionally, our program emphasizes the teaching and understanding of the political logic that drives public decision making.
  • The program has seven areas of expertise, allowing students to specialize in their areas of interest.
  • We have a faculty of excellence. The program has 14 full-time professors affiliated with the Institute and the School of Economics and Business. All of them have doctorates (Ph.D.) from leading universities in the United States and Europe.
  • Several distinguished professors from other schools at UDP teach in our MPP program. Among them, the President of the University, the Dean of the Law School, the Dean of the School of Engineering, the Dean of the School of Economics and Business, the Vice-Dean of the Medical School, and a member of the University's Governing Board, as well as other outstanding professors at the university.
  • We offer both a job placement and professional development program to our students.
  • We provide scholarships and financial aid. For application requirements see:

Contact us

General inquiries:

Sandra Mella

Secretary, Public Policy Institute
(56-2) 22130177

Media and Outreach:

Carolina Gómez

Communications Coordinator, Faculty of Economics and Business
T.(56-2) 22130110 - Mob. +(56-9)98248318

Master in Public Policy (Information and Applications):

Administrative Unit, School of Postgraduate Studies
(56-2) 676-2806