Applied economics and research-based analysis

VATT is an expert economics research unit. We do high-level scientific research to promote evidence-based policy making. We evaluate the effects of policy measures on individuals, households and firms. The main building blocks of our analyses are large-scale register data, profound institutional knowledge and economic theory. 

VATT also acts as an expert in supporting decision-making and evaluating economic policy. Our researchers are sought after as experts in parliamentary committees, expert working groups and the media.

We have a staff of around 50 persons. Most of our researchers have a doctoral degree in economics and their backgrounds include economics of education, labour economics, public economics and environmental economics.

VATT is located at the Economicum campus in central Helsinki together with Helsinki Graduate School of Economics – an academic initiative bringing together three Finnish universities (Aalto University, Hanken School of Economics, and University of Helsinki). VATT cooperates actively with Helsinki GSE in research and education.

Through e.g. joint projects, research visits as well as personal and institutional networks, we are part of the international economics community.

VATT operates in the administrative domain of the Ministry of Finance. Of our financing, 3/5 comes from the state budget and 2/5 is tendered research funding. In 2023, our operating expenditure was approximately EUR 6,7 million.

Economicum building

VATT was founded in 1990

The Parliament of Finland set up VATT Institute for Economic Research in 1990 by merging two planning organizations: the planning secretariat of the Ministry of Finance and the Economic Planning Centre.

Since its foundation, VATT’s mission has been to produce policy-relevant research and economic policy advice. From the outset, our strategy has included high standards of scientific publication and activities that support decision-making.

VATT was founded on 1 October 1990, so in 2020 we celebrate our 30th anniversary. In 30 years, there have been various changes in both the economic policy and research priorities. However, our focus has always been on the Finnish welfare state, both the services it provides and their funding.

VATT:n ylijohtajat 1990-2020
VATT's Director Generals from 1990 to 2020: (from the left) Aki Kangasharju, Seija Ilmakunnas, Reino Hjerppe, Juhana Vartiainen and Anni Huhtala

In honour of the anniversary year, we interviewed all Director Generals of VATT. Their interviews create a picture of the different phases of both the Finnish economic policy and economic research. In addition, we have compiled five thematic articles on VATT's key areas of research and the research results obtained in them.