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Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
IN THIS EDITION NO. 1, March 2012
ERC Advanced Grants
Selected Publications
ERC Advanced Grants

In 2011 researchers of the spatial economics department at VU have received an impressive number of signs of scientific recognition. In particular the two ERC Advanced investigators grants are important. The number of advanced grants is very small and to our knowledge there are hardly any research departments in Europe that host more than one holder of such ERC advanced grants.

Erik Verhoef

The European Research Council awarded an Advanced Investigators Grant to Erik Verhoef. ERC Advanced Grants allow exceptional research leaders in any field of science a scholarship to pursue frontier research of their choice.

The grant of 2,5 million euro’s is awarded for his research project 'Optimizing Policies for Transport: Accounting for Industrial Organization in Network Markets (OPTION)'. In this project models will be developed incorporating large actors for a number of specific cases, e.g. integrated airport-ariline networks, rail-road competition, private road supply, insurance companies and traffic accidents, automated highways and electric vehicles, and taxi markets. These transport policy problems are not only of great academic interest, but also present some of the greatest challenges faced by transport policy makers in their daily operations.

Cees Withagen en Rick van der Ploeg

Cees Withagen and Rick van der Ploeg have received an Advanced Grant from the European research Council amounting to almost 3 million Euro.

The research “Combating Climate Change: Political Economy of Green Paradoxes” concerns climate policy, taking into account the exhaustibility of fossil fuels. The expression ‘paradoxes’ refers to the danger of enhancing the speed of extraction of fossil fuels, implying a faster build-up of CO2, as a consequence of policies directed at reducing demand for fossil fuels, e.g., by means of subsidies on green energy.


Sergej Gubins and Hans Koster win NARSC Graduate Student Led Paper Competition

The Graduate-Student-Led Paper Competition of the North American Regional Science Council is eligible for Masters or PhD students who are the paper’s 'primary author', and be a current, or a recent graduate who completed his/her degree within twelve months preceding the submission date.

The prize in the NARSC Graduate-Student-Led Paper Competition has been awarded to Sergej Gubins for his paper titled Teleworking and Congestion: A Dynamic Bottleneck Analysis, co-authored by Erik Verhoef, and to Hans Koster for his paper titled Upscale Neighbourhoods: Historic Amenities, Income and Spatial Sorting of Households, co-authored by Jos van Ommeren en Piet Rietveld.

Piet Rietveld wins EIB-ERSA Prize

The European Investment Bank (EIB)- European Prize in Regional Science was created to recognize the outstanding contribution of scholars to the advancement in regional science and in related spatial area studies.

The EIB-European Prize in Regional Science is awarded on the recommendation of an independent jury of six eminent regional scientists, four from Europe, one from the Americas and one from the rest of the world. The European Prizes in Regional Science were awarded since 2003. Prize winners were Jean Paelinck, Peter Nijkamp, Ake Andersson, Martin Beckmann, Jacques Thisse, Tony Venables, Paul Cheshire and Roberto Camagni. The jury awarded the 2011 prize to Piet Rietveld.

Peter Nijkamp awarded by Japan Section of Regional Science Association

Peter Nijkamp has been awarded the prestigious Silver Medal of Honor on the occasion of the Japan Section of the Regional Science Association (JSRSAI) 50th Anniversary and council meeting in Japan.

The medal is awarded annually by the British and Irish Section of the Regional Science for the best paper in regional science (British and Irish section).

Eveline van Leeuwen wins the Moss Madden Memorial Medal

Dr.ir. Eveline van Leeuwen has been awarded the Moss Madden Memorial Medal for 2011 for the paper “The effects of future retail developments on the local economy: Combining micro and macro approaches” in Papers in Regional Science. Her paper won under some very tough competition. It is an impressive piece of work.

Jos van Ommeren appointed Professor of Urban Economics

His research focuses on urban and transport issues and on policy related to commuting and parking. His work has been published in Regional Science and Urban Economics, International Economic Review, Journal of Economic Geography, Economica en Journal of Urban Economics.

Jos van Ommeren studied at the University of Amsterdam and London School of Economics. He received his PhD in 1996 at VU University. Before he returned in 2001 to VU University, he worked at University College London and Cranfield University.

Piet Rietveld member of Royal Netherlands Academy of Sciences

In May 2011 Piet Rietveld has been elected as a member of the KNAW. The election is based on scientific performance.  See Koninklijke Nederlandse Akademie van Wetenschappen (KNAW)

The year 2011 was probably the year with the largest number of PhD dissertations (11) defended successfully at the department of spatial economics at VU. The list consists of:



E. Gutierrez Puigarnau

Labour markets, commuting and company cars >>read further

A. Halsema

Essays on Resource Management: Ownership, Market Structures and Exhaustibility >>read further

E. Demirel

Economic Models for Inland Navigation in the Context of Climate Change >>read further

M. Sabir

Weather and Travel Behaviour >>read further

V. van den Berg

Congestion Pricing with heterogeneous travellers >>read further

M. Ridhwan

Regional Dimensions of Monetary Policy in Indonesia >>read further

L. McKinnon Brander

Economic Valuation of Landscape Fragmentation >>read further

J. Garcia Callego

The Moral Herd: Groups and the Evolution of Altruism and Cooperation >>read further

F. de Vor

The Impact and Performance of Industrial Sites: Evidence from the Netherlands >>read further

F. Dal Fiore

Exploring the impacts of mobile technologies on human travel and spatial bahaviour. Analysis of empirical evidence from 3 case studies.

J. van Exel

Behavioural economic perspectives on intertia in travel decision making >>read further

The master in Spatial, Transport and Environmental Economics has developed in most favourable direction. The number of students increased from 9 in 2007 to 25 in 2011. With a share of about 50% of international students, STREEM is one of the leaders at VU University in terms of international orientation. A recent quality audit 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’. Read more


Lands Rents: Searching for the Holy Grail

Henri L.F. de Groot

Dept. of Spatial Economics, VU University Amsterdam

The recent availability of microdata has opened huge opportunities to enhance our understanding of complex spatial equilibrium phenomena. The department has over the past few years contributed in many ways to these interesting and challenges developments in our field. An example of a study that heavily builds on these developments is ‘Stad en Land’. This study exploits information on wages and land rents to shed light on relevant developments with associated huge policy implications such as the movement of high-skilled to high-amenity cities, the strength of agglomeration externalities and the shrinking of cities in the Dutch hinterland.

>>read further

Publication 'The Hidden Costs of Employer Parking Policies'

Van Ommeren, J.N and D. Wentink (2012), The (hidden) costs of employer parking policies, International Economic Review, forthcoming

"There ain't no such thing as a free lunch" definitely applies to employer parking. Employer-paid parking, so free parking or at a very low costs from the worker's perspective, is common but has been argued to distort market outcomes. In a research study by Jos van Ommeren and Dirk Wentink, the welfare costs of employer-paid parking induced by urban planning and fringe benefits taxation are estimated. >>read further
Selected Publications

Scientific Publications

Arguedas, C. & Soest, D.P. van (2011). Optimal Conservation Programs, Asymmetric Information and the Role of Fixed Costs. Environmental and Resource Economics, 50, 305-323. >>read article

Batabyal A.& P. Nijkamp, The Impact of Neutral and Nonneutral Productivity Growth on Creative Capital in a Trading Regional Economy, Geographical Analysis, vol.43, 2011, pp. 61-77 >>read article 

Berg, V.A.C. van den & Verhoef, E.T. (2011). Winning or losing from dynamic bottleneck congestion pricing? The distributional effects of road pricing with heterogeneity in values of time and schedule delay. Journal of Public Economics, 95(7-8), 983-992. >>read article

Calzadilla, A., Rehdanz, K. & Tol, R.S.J. (2011). Water scarcity and the impact of improved irrigation management: A computable general equilibrium analysis. Agricultural Economics, 42(3), 305-323. >>read article

Gutierrez Puigarnau, E. & Ommeren, J.N. van (2011). Welfare effects of distortionary fringe benefits taxation: The case of employer-provided cars. International Economic Review. >>read article

Jonkeren, O.E., Demirel, E., Ommeren, J.N. van & Rietveld, P. (2011). Endogenous transport prices and trade imbalances. Journal of Economic Geography, 11(3), 509-527. >>read article

Moel, H. de, Aerts, J.C.J.H., Koomen, E., Development of flood exposure in the Netherlands during the 20th and 21st century, Global Environmental Change, 21 (2), pp.620-627, 2011.
>>read article

Ommeren, J.N. van, Wentink, D.J.C. & Dekkers, J.E.C. (2011). The real price of parking policies. Journal of Urban Economics, 70(1), 25-31. >>read article

Ploeg, F. van der (2011). Natural resources: Curse or blessing? The Journal of Economic Literature, 49(2), 366-420. >>read article

Vor, F. de, & Groot, H.L.F., The Impact of Industrial Sites on Residential Property Values: A Hedonic Pricing Analysis from the Netherlands, Regional Studies, 45 (5), pp. 609-623, 2011 >>read article

Withagen, C.A.A.M., Benchekroun, H. & Halsema, A.N. (2011). When additional resource stocks reduce welfare. Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, 59(1), 101-114. >>read article

Publications with emphasis on policy relevance

Elings, C., Zijlstra, R., Koomen, E., de Groot, S.M., Milieueffectrapport Structuurvisie Infrastructuur en Ruimte, In opdracht van Ministerie van Infrastructuur en Milieu, Geodan/Royal Haskoning, Amsterdam/Nijmegen, 2011. >>read article

Groot, S.P.T. , H.L.F. de Groot, A.M. Lejour and J. Möhlmann. The Rise of the BRIC Countries and its Impact on the Dutch Economy, CPB Background Document, CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis, The Hague >>read article

Koomen, E., Jacobs, C.G.W., Koomen, E., Jacobs, C. (2011) Regionale toepassingen van de ruimtescanner, Rooilijn, 44 (4), pp.284-291, 2011. >>read article

Mulder, P. & Groot, H.L.F. de Groot, Nederlandse Energie-Intensiteit in Internationaal Perspectief, Economisch Statistische Berichten, 96 (4624), pp. 749-751, 2011 >>read article

Manshanden, W., T. van Bree, H.L.F. de Groot en M.B.M. Lankhuizen, Economische Verkenningen Metropoolregio Amsterdam 2011, Economische Zaken Amsterdam en KVK Amsterdam, Amsterdam, 2011. >>read article

Nijkamp, P., Migratie in Balans, werkdocument Vrije Universiteit, 2010. >>read article

Steenbruggen, Y.G.M., Borzacchiello, M.T., Nijkamp, P. & Scholten, H.J. (2011). The use of GSM data for transport safety management: An exploratory review. (Research Memorandum 2011-32). Amsterdam: Faculty of Economics and Business Administration. (VU) >>read article

Vermeulen, W., H.L.F. de Groot G. Marlet en C.N. Teulings (2011): Steden, Grondprijzen en de Lokale Overheid, in: J.H. Garretsen, R. Jong-a-Pin en E. Sterken (eds), De Economische Toekomst van Nederland, Preadviezen 2011, SDU Uitgevers, Den Haag, pp. 233–254. >>read article