Department of Development Economics

Within the department of Economics at the VU University Amsterdam, there are two groups: Economics and Development Economics. These two groups interact and collaborate in both research and teaching but focus on different geographic areas. Whereas Economics has a strong focus on developed countries, Development Economics mainly focuses on issues in developing and transition countries. 

The group Development Economics has a prominent position in its field. Its dynamic nature and large international network attracts talented young researchers and PhD students. The group is well-known among development economists across the globe. Researchers in this group have published in top-ranked journals such as the American Economic Review, Econometrica, Review of Economic Studies, Journal of Health Economics, the World Bank Economic Review and World Development. 

It adopts a strongly empirical approach, using survey data (for individual households or firms) for micro-econometric testing. The collection of such data and the design of survey instruments is therefore an important part of the group’s research. Data collection and impact evaluations are facilitated by the Amsterdam Institute for International Development (AIID), through which this group closely collaborates with development economists from the University of Amsterdam and medical researchers from the Amsterdam Institute for Global Health and Development. 

In the QANU research assessment 2009, conducted by a team of international experts, our group was awarded the excellent score of 18.5/20. The QANU report concludes:

"This is a relatively small group focused on microeconomic issues arising in the economics of development. It is well known internationally and publishes a good volume of research. Importantly, that research has real impact, as it deals with crucially important problems in development economics and delivers answers that have implications for policy."