Applied economics and research-based analysis

VATT is an expert economics research unit focusing on public economics issues and policy evaluation. Through our scientific research we contribute to evidence-based policy making.

Economics provides an important perspective on key social policy questions. VATT researches policy-relevant topics from business taxation to labour market policy and from the housing market to municipal finances. Our researchers’ backgrounds include economics of education, labour economics, political economics and environmental economics. 

VATT acts as an expert in guiding decision-making and evaluating economic policy. Using scientific methods and extensive register data, we forecast or evaluate the impact of various policy changes on e.g. the behaviour of individuals, households or firms.

Besides their research work, our researchers are sought after as experts in parliamentary committees, various expert working groups and the media.

VATT operates in the administrative domain of the Ministry of Finance

Two thirds of our financing comes from the state budget and one third is tendered research funding. In 2016 our operating expenditure is approximately EUR 5.5 million. We have a staff of around 50 persons, 40 of whom are researchers.

We are located at the Economicum campus in central Helsinki together with the Department of Economics of the University of Helsinki, the Aalto University School of Business and the Department of Economics of Hanken School of Economics.

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. VATT became a separate institute supervised by the economics department of the Ministry of Finance, its mission being to study the structures of the economy very broadly.

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

The research done at VATT and our organization have changed many times over the years. The proportion of researchers at PhD level has increased manyfold, and our focus has shifted from planning in the early years towards scientific research of international standards.