The Department of Spatial Economics


The Department of Spatial Economics, at the School of Business and Economics of VU Amsterdam, is engaged in economic problems in which space plays a prominent role. The Department of Spatial Economics offers insights and applications in urban, regional, transport and environmental challenges from a primarily economic perspective, often enriched through multi-disciplinary collaborations.

The 60 staff members are involved in both fundamental research as well as in national and international commissioned research. With this research, the department has gained national and international recognition, as shown by the large number of international publications and citations; the appearance of different staff members in editorial boards and as experts in the media and advisory boards; and the presence of various section members on the typically Dutch phenomenon of 'Economists Parade'.

According to RePEc (accessed in April 2018), the School ranks in the top 5% of institutions worldwide in the fields of Transport Economics, Urban and Real Estate Economics, Economic Geography, Environmental Economics and Energy Economics. Moreover, various current staff members make it to the top 5% in RePEc's general ranking of economists, or in the economists' rankings in the fields just mentioned: Erik Verhoef, Jos van Ommeren, Henri de Groot, Jan Rouwendal, Carolyn Fischer, Cees Withagen, Rik van der Ploeg and Richard Tol.

The research programme addresses four interrelated themes: urban and regional dynamics, land use, transport and environmental and resource economics. Some keywords to sketch the topics within these themes are:

  • Urban and regional dynamics: agglomeration economies, housing markets, regional labour markets, migration
  • Land use: land rents, spatial externalities, flood risk, spatial planning
  • Transport:congestion, network reliability, accident risks, sustainable transport, transport policy
  • Environmental and resource economics:biodiversity, agri-environmental schemes, renewable resources, green paradox, climate change adaptation