Each year, the spring school takes place at the Scientific Institute of Cargèse in Corsica, France. It lasts one week from Monday morning until Friday in the evening and includes:
Every morning, two lectures take place on a broad subject. Each lecturer is required to give not only a summary of the existing literature, but also the main questions and directions of research and implications in terms of public policies. The topics cover the various themes of the IOE such as institutions and economic growth, economics of formal and informal contracts, economics of organizations, theories of institutional changes.
The goal is to present the state of the art on more specific questions than in the morning or on a particular methodology. The aim of workshops is to get the participants used to recent advancements of the analysis in terms of research questions and methods, notably in order for them to be able to reintegrate their learning in their own works.
Two workshops take place in parallel in the afternoon and students can choose the one that best fits their needs:
Working days close with seminars conducted by young researchers involved in the school organization. Participants are split into groups based on their research topics and approaches (around 10 to 12 members per group). Each group meets daily from Monday to Thursday. Each participant has to present either its research project or a working paper. The written document is the base of a collective discussion, which is introduced by discussants: both one of the other participant and a faculty.
Introduced during the 2012 session, the lunch sessions take place from Tuesday to Friday. These short sessions (one hour) allow both advanced researchers and students to talk about key steps of academic life. Each session deals with a specific topic like the process of submission to an academic journal, the job market, or careers outside the academia. The starting point of these sessions is the questions prepared by participants (they can send them to the organization team beforehand). These questions allow advanced scholars to share their experience with the audience.
In addition to providing participants with formal presentations of the state of the art in the discipline, IOEA enables students to interact with the faculties. As a matter of fact, the Academy is organized in a way that fosters exchanges, formal and informal, between established researchers and students. Indeed, each participant has the chance to meet with a speaker for half an hour. Moreover, numerous events are planned during the week in order to originate interactions between lecturers and students.
The existence of this numerous informal interactions is a strong point of the IOEA, systematically given positive reports by both students and speakers. From this point of view, it successfully fulfills its goal of promoting networks between students, researchers and between researchers and students. A striking example of this network effect is the great number of scientific collaboration that has occurred between participants on working papers. More than thirty collaboration groups emerged from the school.