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Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
IN THIS EDITION Newsletter VU Spatial Economics NO. 2, 2013
Policy oriented RESEARCH
scientific PUBLICATIONS; a selection
Policy oriented publications; a selection

This newsletter highlights a small selection of events and outputs of the department of Spatial Economics at VU University Amsterdam in 2012. When you need more information, please consult our website and don’t hesitate to contact us. Piet Rietveld, Head of the Department

Spatial Economics obtains six postdoc positions in the VERDUS programme

The NWO-VERDUS programme on Sustainable Urban Development has recently allocated research funds to a number of research proposals.

The VU Spatial Economics research group has been successful by having three proposals accepted:
  • Analysing and Exploring Sustainable Urban Strategies (AESUS), Eric Koomen and Henk Scholten (2 postdocs of 2 years each)
  • Implications of Location Preferences of Highly Educated Workers for Spatial Development of Metropolitan Areas, Jan Rouwendal and Jasper Dekkers (1 postdoc of 1 year and 2 postdocs of 2 years each)
  • Transit Oriented Development in the Randstad, Piet Rietveld (1 postdoc of 2 years)                                          

Read more about the NWO-VERDUS programme (in Dutch).

Funding for PhD position in collaborative programme with China

Application of operations research in urban transport
Vincent van den Berg and Erik Verhoef have received funding for a PhD position in the collaborative programme between the Dutch NWO and the Chinese NSFC on “The Application of Operations Research in Urban Transport”. The project on “Private roads in mixed private-public networks” will be conducted in cooperation with Tongji University in Shanghai, China.The project will consider the performance of monopolistic but also competing private roads in congested networks; and of various regulatory policies in this context, including different types of auctions for concessions for private road supply.

Henk Scholten and SPINlab nominated for Huibregtsenprijs

Professor in Spatial Informatics Henk Scholten was one of the seven finalists for the Huibregtsenprijs 2012, a prestigious prize for Dutch research that stands out in terms of scientific innovation and has valuable potential for applications in society. Henk Scholten was nominated based on his research for SPINlab in the area of if information management and crisis control (GDI 4 Disaster Management). Alas, Henk and SPINlab did not win the award in the end, but the nomination itself can be seen as a recognition of the type of applied research that is at the heart of SPINlab.

Steven Poelhekke ESB prize for paper on Bank Intermediation of FDI

The jury praised the paper for its high academic quality, originality and its relevance for policy making. Download the paper Bank Intermediation of Foreign Direct Investment (pdf). Steven Poelhekke, since 2011 assistant professor at the department, received the award at the Dutch Economists Day 2012.

Henri de Groot wins FEWEB Best Lecturer Award 2012

The award went to prof. dr. Henri de Groot. Henri is teaching courses in the BSc Economics and Business Economics, the MSc Spatial, Transport and Environmental Economics (STREEM), the honours programme and also the Tinbergen Institute. He was praised for his catching enthusiasm and his ability to link the theoretical and empirical concepts that are discussed in his courses to reallife and topical cases which helps the students to put the theories into context.

Geoplaza UBVU-SPINlab nominated for Dutch Data Award DANS-KNAW

The VU University Amsterdam Geoplaza dataportal was one of the three nominees for the Dutch Data Award in humanities and social sciences, a yearly competition by DANS-KNAW. Geoplaza is developed by VU University Library in close collaboration with the Spatial Information Laboratory (SPINlab). Geoplaza is a portal which gives access to scientifically reliable geospatial Information. At the moment Geoplaza contains a variety of historical maps,  thematic maps from the Dutch center for statistics (Centraal Bureau voor de Statistiek, CBS), cadastral maps and all other kind of valuable datasets. The jury did not select Geoplaza as the winner of the Dutch Data Award, however, the jury stated that Geoplaza is very promising and a good example of how geospatial information can be shared.

Jessie Bakens and Jacob Janssen VU-Fellow

Jessie Bakens and Jacob Janssen are selected for the University Research Fellowship (URF) of VU University. Bakens will become VU-Nijkamp-Fellow and Janssen becomes VU-Withagen/Van der Ploeg-Fellow.

Top five REPEC ranking
The Faculty of Economics at VU University is a world player in the domains of Spatial, Transport and Environmental Economics. REPEC ranks the Faculty in the top 5 of the total number of institutes (more than a 1,000 on average) for the following domains: Transport Economics (1), Resource Economics (3), Network Economics (4), Economic Geography (4), Environmental Economics (5), Energy Economics (5), and Urban and Real Estate economics (6).
Five spatial economists in the 2012 list of Dutch economists

The department of Spatial Economics, VU University, achieved a very strong position in the 2012 ESB list of Dutch economists. This list is based on publications between 2007 and 2011. The positions are: Richard Tol (1), Rick van der Ploeg (11), Peter Nijkamp (17), Piet Rietveld (23) and Erik Verhoef (39).

Jan Rouwendal appointed professor of Economic Valuation of Cultural Heritage

Jan Rouwendal was already affiliated to the Department and with his new position he will participate in the Research and Education Network ‘Heritage and Space’. Rouwendal and 3 other professors will boost knowledge development where the domains of Cultural Heritage, Spatial Design and Spatial Planning meet. More information on the network can be found on www.netwerkerfgoedenruimte.nl

Doctorate honoris causa from the University of the Algarve to Peter Nijkamp

Peter Nijkamp has received a doctorate honoris causa from the University of the Algarve in Faro in June 2012. He got this highest sign of scientific recognition for his long-standing path-breaking contributions to regional science, his active role model for young scientists and his world-wide involvement with regional development issues. Peter Nijkamp is already doctor honoris causa at the Universities of Brussel, Athens and Bucharest.

Membership Academia Europaea

Professors Verhoef and Withagen have become members of The Academia Europaea, which is a European, non-governmental association acting as an Academy. Its members are scientists and scholars who collectively aim to promote learning, education and research. The membership of Verhoef and Withagen recognizes their international scholarship.

Wim Bernasco appointed professor of Spatial Analysis and Criminality

Wim Bernasco studied psychology and got his PhD in the field of family sociology and sociology of labor. He is a senior researcher at the Netherlands Institute for the Study of Crime and Law Enforcement (NSCR) within the theme group "Mobility and Distribution of Crime’.

Abdul Kalam, former president of India, visits Spinlab

Abdul Kalam has a special interest in the research on geographical information. Henk Scholten, director of SPINlab, and Harmen Verbruggen, dean of FEWEB, welcomed Kalam. Scholten showed techniques that can be deployed in the battle against deforestation in Borneo. Maurice de Kleijn and Niels van Manen (SPINlab and CLUE) showed that if you combine various information about a particular location you can accurately predict where e.g. archaeologica finds can be expected.

Peter Nijkamp Chair of Scientific Advisory Board of JPI Urban Europe

Joint Programme Initiative Urban Europe starts the year 2013 with a new Chair for its Scientific Advisory Board.The elected Chair is Professor Peter Nijkamp. You can find an interview with Peter Nijkamp here 

Cees Withagen appointed associate editor of two journals

He has been appointed associate editor of Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control and European Economic Review

Vincent van den Berg and Steven Poelhekke became TI fellow in 2012

The Tinbergen Institute is the Graduate school in Economics, Econometrics and Finance, Amsterdam/Rotterdam.


Arciniegas Lopez, Gustavo (2012, november 19), Map-based decision support tools for collaborative land use planning, VU University Amsterdam, Prom./coprom.: prof. dr. P. Rietveld, dr. R. Janssen

Dekker, T. (2012, september 18). Preference uncertainty in stated choice experiments. VU Vrije Universiteit (Amsterdam: VU University). Prom./coprom.: prof. dr. ir. R. Brouwer & prof. dr. M.W. Hofkes.

Hemert, P. van (2012, maart 22), The influence of innovation sources and networks on the performance of Dutch SMEs, VU University Amsterdam, Prom./coprom.: Prof.dr. P. Nijkamp, prof.dr.E. Masurel

Koster, P.R. (2012, januari 16). The cost of travel time variability for air and car travellers. VU Vrije Universiteit (144 pag.) (Amsterdam: Tinbergen Institute / Thela Thesis). Prom./coprom.: prof. dr. E.T. Verhoef, dr. E.P. Kroes & dr. A.J.H. Pels.

Sahin, M. (2012, maart 22). Studies on Migrant Entrepreneurship in Dutch Cities. VU Vrije Universiteit (396 pag.) (Amsterdam: VU University). Prom./coprom.: prof. dr. P. Nijkamp, prof. dr. E. Masurel & prof. T. Baycan.


The master in Spatial, Transport and Environmental Economics has developed in most favourable direction. The number of students increased from 9 in 2007 to 30 in 2012, with a share of about 50% of international students. A recent quality audit in the NVAO framework by an international committee led by professor Roger Vickerman led to a very positive conclusion, in particular in terms of 'educational learning environment’ and ‘assessment and achieved learning outcomes’.

Policy oriented RESEARCH
Importance of the BRIC-countries for Dutch economy

The impact of globalization on Dutch labor markets, income distribution and trade patterns has been one of the focal areas of research of the department of Spatial Economics in the past years. In a recent study, we concluded that the rapid economic development of the BRIC-countries during the past two decades has brought substantial benefits to the Netherlands. Cheap imports from these countries increased real income in the Netherlands. Dutch exporters face relatively limited competition from producers in the BRIC countries due to substantially different specialization patterns. Furthermore, about 2 percent of Dutch GDP and 100 thousand jobs are involved with exports to the BRIC countries or with re-exports that originate from these countries. Reduced demand from advanced countries since the start of the financial crisis has made the continued high growth rates of emerging economies particularly important, and since 2008 the BRIC countries alone have accounted for almost half of the growth of the world economy.

Read more here, or contact Henri L.F. de Groot (h.l.f.de.groot@vu.nl)
A cost-benefit analysis of the EU 20/20/2020 Package

The European Commission did not publish a cost–benefit analysis for its 2020 climate package. This research by Richard Tol fills that gap, comparing the marginal costs and benefits of greenhouse gas emission reduction. The uncertainty about the marginal costs of climate change is large and skewed, and estimates partly reflect ethical choices (e.g., the discount rate). The 2010 carbon price in the EU Emissions Trading System can readily be justified by a cost–benefit analysis. Emission reduction is not expensive provided that policy is well-designed, a condition not met by planned EU policy. It is probably twice as expensive as needed, costing one in ten years of economic growth. The EU targets for 2020 are unlikely to meet the benefit–cost test. For a standard discount rate (3% pure rate of time preference), the benefit–cost ratio is rather poor (1/30)—so that benefits need to be very much higher, or costs very much lower than typically assumed to justify the 2020 targets. Only a very low discount rate (0% PRTP) would justify the 20% emission reduction target for 2020. Click here for the paper.

Expansion smal airports is not good for the economy

The expansion of small airports in the Netherlands does not stimulate economy. According to airport economist Eric Pels efforts should be focused towards a more efficient Schiphol. However, Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure is investing in regional airports. Expansion of these airports costs a great deal of money. ‘At a certain point, we will have a number of smaller regional airports which will compete to a large extent. If airline companies are not interested in using these airports, they are useless’, according to Pels. Read and listen to the news item at BNR News Radio (in Dutch).

Fiscal treatment of commuting cost allowances provided by employers

In the political arena of 2012 one of the plans to achieve budget cuts was the abolishment of tax free commuting cost allowances by employers.  Bert van Wee (TUD), Erik Verhoef (VUA), Piet Rietveld (VUA) and Jan-Anne Annema (TUD) argued in a newspaper article that this does not only help to improve the public sector budget, but that it also reduces excess commuting. More in particular, the welfare effects in terms of social cost benefit analysis are favorable. Read the complete article in Trouw (in Dutch).

Regional Economic Outlook Amsterdam Metropolitan Area

The department of Spatial Economics (with TNO and Ernst & Young) has contributed to the Economic Outlook of the Amsterdam Metropolitan Area, which describes recent developments and provides short-run forecasts of production, the sectoral composition, and of employment and unemployment. Furthermore, it describes and analyzes long-run trends that manifest themselves in the region. And finally, it pays considerable attention to the position of the region in the global economy. Click here to read more.

scientific PUBLICATIONS; a selection

Batabyal, A. & Nijkamp, P. (2012). A Schumpeterian Model of Entrepreneurship, Innovation, and Regional Economic Growth. International Regional Science Review, 2012(35), 339-361. 

Behrens, C and Pels, E. (2012), Intermodal competition in the London-Paris passenger market: High-speed rail and air transportJournal of Urban Economics, 71, 278-288 

Berg, V.A.C. van den & Verhoef, E.T. (2012). Is the travel time of private roads too short, too long, or just right? Transportation Research Part B, 46(8), 971-983.

Bosello, F., Nicholis, R.J., Richards, J., Roson, R. & Tol, R.S.J. (2012). Economic impacts of climate change in Europe: sea level rise. Climatic Change, 112(1), 63-81. 

Ewijk, C. van, H.L.F. de Groot, A.J. Santing. (2012). A meta-analysis of the equity premium, Journal of Empirical Finance, 19(5), 819-830.

Koster, H.R.A., Ommeren, J.N. van & Rietveld, P. (2012). Bombs, Boundaries and Buildings: A Regression Discontinuity Design to Measure Costs of Housing Supply Restrictions. Regional Science and Urban Economics, 42(4), 631-641.

Koster, H.R.A. & Rouwendal, J. (2012). The Impact of Mixed Land Use on Residential Property Values. Journal of Regional Science, 52(5), 733-761.

Lindsey, C.R., Berg, V.A.C. van den & Verhoef, E.T. (2012). Step tolling with bottleneck queuing congestion. Journal of Urban Economics, 72(1), 46-59.

Ommeren, J.N. van & Wentink, D.J.C. (2012). The (hidden) costs of employer parking policies. International Economic Review, 53(3), 965-978.

Ploeg, F. van der & Withagen, C.A.A.M. (2012). Too Much Coal, too little Oil. Journal of Public Economics, 96(1-2), 62-77.

Stoop, J.T.R., Noussair, Ch. & Soest, D.P. van (2012). From the Lab to the Field: Cooperation among Fishermen. Journal of Political Economy, 120(6).

Verburg, P.H., Koomen, E., Hilferink, M., Pérez-Soba, M. & Lesschen, J-P (2012). An assessment of the impact of climate adaptation measures to reduce flood risk on ecosystem services. Landscape Ecology, 27(4), 473-486.

Voors, M.J., Nillesen, E.E.M., Bulte, E.H., Lensink, B.W., Verwimp, P. & Soest, D.P. van (2012). Violent conflict and behavior: A field experiment in Burundi. American Economic Review, 102(2), 941-964.

Withagen, C.A.A.M., Dekker, T., Vollebergh, H. & Vries, F. de (2012). Inciting protocols. Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, 64, 45-67.

Policy oriented publications; a selection

Bockarjova, M., Rietveld, P. & Verhoef, E.T. (2012). Composite Valuation of Immaterial Damage in Flooding: Value of Statistical Life, Value of Statistical Evacuation and Value of Statistical Injury. (TI Discussion Paper 12-047/3). Amsterdam: Tinbergen Institute.

Geenhuizen, M. van & Nijkamp, P. (2012). Lokale onthechting van bedrijven. Economisch Statistische Berichten, 97(4630), 138.

Groot, S.P.T., Groot, H.L.F. de, Lejour, A. & Mohlmann, J.L. (2012). Belang BRIC-landen voor Nederland. Economisch Statistische Berichten, 97(4627), 38-41.

Hofkes, M.W. & Verbruggen, H. (2012). Van groene welvaartsmaten tot een nationale maatschappelijke kosten-batenanalyse. Tijdschrift voor Openbare Financien, 44(4), 247-253.

Knockaert, J., Tseng, Y., Verhoef, E.T. & Rouwendal, J. (2012). The Spitsmijden experiment: A reward to battle congestion. Transport Policy, 24, 260-272. 

Neuts, B., Nijkamp, P. & Leeuwen, E.S. van (2012). Crowding Externalities from Tourist Use of Urban Space. Tourism Economics, 18(3), 649-670.

Rouwendal, J. (2012). Indirect effects in cost-benefit analysis. Journal of Benefit-Cost Analysis, 3(1).

Tol, R.S.J. (2012). A cost-benefit analysis of the EU 20/20/2020 Package. Energy Policy, 49, 288-295.

Tseng, Y., Rietveld, P. & Verhoef, E.T. (2012). Unreliable trains and induced rescheduling; implications for cost-benefit analysis. Transportation, 39(2), 387-407.


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