Welcome To


Where big data meet social problems

is an innitiative of

Our Mission

Using big data to change the world

Established in Barcelona in 2013, the Institute of Political Economy and Governance (IPEG) is a research center that focuses on the interaction between politics (political regimes and institutions, political order and conflict, the aggregation of preferences and interests) and economics (development, the economic cycle, redistribution and welfare), although the multidisciplinary perspective of IPEG extends to sociology, history, archeology, etc. The final objetive is to understand the ultimate causes of development and how to prevent conflict. We rely on an evidence based methodological approach using data science techniques applied to large datasets (satellite imagery, GPS event; positioning, very detailed information on population spatial distribution, etc.)

IPEG, housed at the Ciutadella Campus, is the result of the joint collaboration of “La Caixa” Foundation, the Government of Catalonia and has received the institutional support of Universitat Pompeu Fabra and the Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.

Kofi Annan, former secretary-general of the United Nations

Without good data, we’re flying blind. If you can’t see it, you can’t solve it."

Kofi Annan, former secretary-general of the United Nations

“Such fine-grained insight brings tremendous responsibility to act. It shows governments, international agencies and donors exactly where to direct resources and support. … Without good data, we’re flying blind. If you can’t see it, you can’t solve it.”

Edwards Deming

Without data you are just one more person with an oppinion

John Naisbitt

We are drowning in information but starved for knowledge

A new view for approaching social and global problems using data


IPEG's research lines

Mass media plays a critical role in democratic politics. As the vast majority of the population use media to inform themselves about government actions,, its ability to provide accurate an unbiased coverage is essential to ensure political accountability. The main danger comes from fact that politicians and other interested parties have strong incentives to try to capture the media and ensure that it provides a friendly coverage. The importance of mass media in politics increased so much, that modern authoritarian leaders rely more on manipulation of information than on brute force. Thus, understanding the causes and consequences of media capture is essential for preserving democratic institutions and keeping policy-makers accountable.

There is increasing evidence on the relationship between inequality and social tensions. The increase in inequality is particularly evident in the US, where the meritocratic justification of income differences is questioned by a significant reduction in social mobility. However this particular example produces an acritical application of the situation of the US to many other countries despite large difference in inequality indicators and welfare systems. There is need for research on inequality and social mobility that considers the explanation of the differences across countries, and new methodologies to follow inequality at high frequency, including small areas or regions where inequality measures are not usually calculated for lack of traditional data sources.

Our goal is to conduct research to understand and prevent the collapse of states and societies. Inequality, social protests, terrorism and wars are currently critical problems of our world. No society can sustain high levels of inequality without generating grievances, social violence and, potentially, collapsing their institutional set-up and dissolving their social contract. What IPEG investigates, from multidisciplinary perspective, is how to understand the process that leads to conflict and how to prevent its development. Our approach relies on an Evidence Based perspective, using research frontier methodology and new, and very detailed, data (big data sources based on GIS, satelitte data, data from cell phones connections,…etc.). We use frontier research data-driven analysis to provide a new perspective to the toughest problems of our society.