The Iseak Foundation
Iseak is a research and transference center in economics.

It was created in 2018 as a non-profit organisation, on the initiative of the Professor of Economics of the Basque Country/EHU, Sara de la Rica and Dr. Lucía Gorjón, and with the invaluable collaboration of leading references in economic and social research in Spain, such as Ana Revenga, Luis Miller, Lucas Gortázar, Fernando Monge, Ainhoa Vega and Paloma Úbeda.

Based on the academic and research excellence of its team, it aims to position itself as centre of reference in Europe, following the example of initiatives such as the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) in Ireland, the Behavioural Insights Team (BiT) in the United Kingdom or the Vienna Institute of Demography (ViD).


Poverty and inclusion

The growing inequality in our societies generates poor social groups at risk of social and labor exclusion. Globalisation and digitalisation, if not accompanied by inclusive measures, widen the inequality gap, as the skills required in the labour market are becoming more and more demanding. In this context, programs such as Minimum Income Schemes prove necessary to lift the most vulnerable households out of extreme poverty. Our mission in this area is to propose and evaluate social and labour inclusion programs aimed at eradicating poverty and stimulating access to employment for the most vulnerable groups.

Employment and unemployment

The Great Recession that Spain experienced from 2008 to 2013, together with the recent crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, have revealed a growing social inequality, aggravated by the chronic unemployment of specific groups. ISEAK's mission is to identify the groups most vulnerable to employment (by gender, level of education, socioeconomic level, geographical area, etc.), their skill deficits, and the type of sectors and occupations where they could find a job fit. In addition, under this research area we evaluate certain public policy measures aimed at the reintegration/job training of these groups. In this way, we collaborate with stakeholders who design social policies with the aim of providing them with founded instruments to help them address their inclusion instruments and their employment and labor insertion programs.

Gender equality

The growing incorporation of women into the labour market, linked to an increase in their levels of education, has significantly reduced the gender labour gap. However, family care - be it for children, the elderly or dependents - still falls mainly on women. Our mission in this area is to provide evidence on the magnitude and evolution of gender gaps, to contrast their relationship with family care and other obstacles faced by women, to evaluate various equality initiatives and to propose measures to advance towards full gender equality in the labor market.

Digital and human capital transformation

The digital transformation of companies is bringing about organisational and productive changes that, if properly exploited, will lead to substantial increases in productivity. This transformation requires innovative investments, not only in technology but also in the continuous retraining and readaptation of workers. Our mission in this area is to promote and propose measures that ensure that the modernisation of companies is intrinsically linked to the continuous retraining/replacement of the people who make up the company, as well as to promote modern Public Employment Services that are committed to the retraining/replacement of the unemployed, taking into account the future demands of the labor market.


The ISEAK team applies data analytics to address a number of economic and social problems. We use, combine and exploit large microdata of various origins, such as administrative data or survey data gathered by statistical agencies or self-produced. The appropriate use of reliable sources of information allows us to provide objective, independent and rigorous answers to the questions asked. We work with stakeholders at the local, regional, national and international levels.
Another specialty of the ISEAK team is the counterfactual impact assessment. This methodology allows us to analyse what would have happened in a scenario where a policy, program or initiative had not been implemented. In this way, the causal impact of the intervention can be identified.

 The challenge of causal analysis is that the situation in absence of the policy is not observed or known. However, counterfactual evaluation provides the tools to create such scenario by means of a number of techniques. A way to create this counterfactual scenario is to find or create statistical twins who have not been affected by that treatment (as known in scientific jargon). By comparing the treated person with his or her fictitious twin (or control group) we can measure the causal impact of a number of interventions. Some of the techniques applied in the frame of causal analysis are Difference-in-Differences, Propensity Score Matching or Inverse Probability Weighting, among others.

These types of methodological techniques are used by world-class academic experts, such as Esther Duflo, Abhijit Banerjee and Michale Kremer, who received the Nobel Prize in Economics in 2019 precisely for the use of this type of evaluation methodology


Sara de la Rica Goiricelaya

Director at ISEAK. Full professor of Economics at Universidad del País Vasco UPV/EHU.

Lucía Gorjón

Researcher at ISEAK

Pablo Cañavate

Coordinador de gestión

David Martinez de Lafuente

Investigador en ISEAK

Ainhoa Osés

Researcher at ISEAK

Gonzalo Romero

Researcher at ISEAK

Imanol Lizarraga

Researcher at ISEAK

Iker Aguirregomezcorta

Administración y Comunicación en ISEAK

Ainhoa Vega-Bayo

Research associate at ISEAK. Associate professor at Universidad del País Vasco, UPV/EHU

Alejandra Campero

Research associate at ISEAK. Consultant at World Bank

Odra Quesada

Predoctoral researcher at ISEAK

Antonio Villar

Research associate at ISEAK. Full professor at Universidad Pablo Olavide de Sevilla

Simona Demel

Research associate at ISEAK

Paloma Úbeda

Research associate at ISEAK. Professor of Quantitative Methods at UNED

Luis Miller

Research associate at ISEAK. Senior scientist at CSIC


Ana Revenga

President of the Board of ISEAK and Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution's Global Economy and Development.

Sara de la Rica Goiricelaya

Director at ISEAK. Full professor of Economics at Universidad del País Vasco UPV/EHU.

Jasone Cenoz

Trustee at ISEAK. Full professor of research methods in education at UPV/EHU.

Francisco Pérez García

Trustee at ISEAK. Full Professor of Economic Analysis at the University of Valencia and Director of Research at the Valencian Institute of Economic Research (IVIE)

Mario Negre

Trustee at ISEAK. Senior economist in the Poverty and Equity Global Practice at the World Bank.

Fernando Fernández-Monge

Trustee at ISEAK. Senior Associate at Bloomberg-Harvard City Leadership Initiative

Inés Macho

Trustee at ISEAK. Full Professor of Fundamentals of Economic Analysis at the Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona and Research Professor at the Barcelona School of Economics


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This portal presents information about our Foundation with the aim of informing the public about our operating rules as well as our economic activity.

To this end, we present a link to the ISEAK Statutes, which govern the rules of operation, approved by the Board of Trustees in December 2018. In this way ISEAK complies with Law 19/2013, of December 9, on transparency, access to public information and good governance.