The department’s mission is to acquire and transfer academic knowledge and expertise on the relationship between the environment and the economy to address societal concerns and to inform environmental policy.
The main strength of the department lies in the application of high quality academic knowledge and economic expertise in interdisciplinary, policy relevant research projects. The research in the department is broadly organized according to three themes: economics of natural capital and ecosystem services, climate change economics, and economics of sustainable energy.
The Environmental Economics Department has strong quantitative econometric and computational skills. Applied modelling methods include Integrated Assessment Models of climate change and the economy, Computable General Equilibrium Models, Partial Equilibrium Models which have a sectoral focus, and Agent-Based Models. Moreover, methods and insights from behavioural economics are applied across the department’s research themes, and include economic lab experiments with innovative applications like Virtual Reality technology. The department also has a long-standing tradition with applying environmental valuation methods, for example using choice experiments in surveys, and in applications of societal cost-benefit analysis to inform environmental policy making.
The applied character of the research conducted by the Environmental Economics Department implies that it is well positioned to serve societal end users, as demonstrated by projects conducted for the OECD, Dutch ministries, the EU, and environmental NGOs such as WWF. PhD candidates have been financed by external organisations, such as the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency and Deltares. Moreover, research projects on climate change risks regularly include end users from the financial sector, such as the Dutch Union for Insurers, Zurich Re, Achmea, and the US National Association of Insurance Commissioners.
The Environmental Economics Department consists of around 30 scientific staff members and PhD candidates and is led by Prof. Wouter Botzen.
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